Barbers Mohammed Hussain and Omer Ul Satar
Barbers Mohammed Hussain and Omer Ul Satar, attending to customers at Al Raqam Wahid barber shop in Sharjah. Photo taken August 5, 2019. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

Dubai: It’s a busy season for barbers in the UAE as they cater to a spike in customer flow with people wanting to look sharp for the upcoming Eid Al Adha festival.

Each year, barbershops fill up with customers as the annual Muslim festival approaches. Eid Al Adha, which means ‘the festival of sacrifice’, starts on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Hajj. Muslims typically offer a goat, lamb or cow as a sacrifice to show gratitude, donating part of the meat as charity and cooking some of it for a family lunch.

This year, the first day of Eid Al Adha corresponds to August 11 (Sunday) in the UAE. The public and private sector will mark the Eid holiday from August 10 to 13 (Saturday to Tuesday).

On Monday, barbers told Gulf News they are seeing a spike in customer flow ahead of Eid. Some expats are heading home for the holiday and are getting trims before leaving, they added.

Huge demand

At Tareeq Al Mamzar barbershop in Sharjah, the Eid rush draws around 130 per cent more customers.

“Say we have 30 customers a day normally; for Eid we get 70 customers. We stay open all night before Eid and take a well-deserved break on Eid,” said Raja Khalid, a Pakistani barber.

His colleague, Osman Shareef, said: “We chat a lot with our customers and they enjoy the social atmosphere. Some people come in for a haircut, others want a facial as well. We’re already making sure all the arrangements are there for the Eid rush.”

Barbers said they don’t raise prices for Eid but receive more tips from customers. At Raqam Wahid barbershop, Omar Ul Sattar said customers are in a festive mood for Eid and like to tip well.

Another barber at the shop, Mohammad Husnain, said a typical charge for a haircut is Dh15. “Sometimes customers pay way more from their own generosity, we don’t charge extra during the Eid rush. If our customers are happy, we’re happy too,” Husnain added.

Pakistani expat Abdul Razak, 43, who lives in Ajman, said it is part of his Eid itinerary to visit the barbershop.

“My friends and I go to the barber as late as possible in the night. We get a service coupon number and go to a nearby shop to socialise over tea. We come back to the barbershop and get a haircut together. It’s good fun and we chat a lot with the barbers too,” he added.

Religious dimension

Apart from helping customers achieve a fresh look for Eid, there is also a religious dimension to the busy barber season. Muslims who intend to offer a sacrificial animal for Eid have to refrain from cutting their hair between the first and ninth day of the month of Hajj. They offer the sacrifice on the 10th day and then get a haircut.

“Each year for Eid Al Adha, I offer a sacrifice, so I make it a point to visit the barber afterwards — it’s become my Eid routine. My younger brothers also join me and we all look our best for Eid,” said Ali Rashid, 39, an Emirati engineer.