Dubai: UAE residents have been enjoying their Eid-Al-Fitr break with family and friends. The first two days of the long weekend have been marked by prayers, exchange of greetings, elaborate get-togethers, sumptuous feasts and choice outings.
Dubai banker Mohsin Bhimani from Canada said he was having a great Eid Al Fitr with his wife Samina, sons Amaar and Irtiza Ahmed and daughter Areej Fatima.
“Eid Al Fitr, as we know, is the festival of breaking fast and end of the Holy month of Ramadan. To me, it’s the day we get utmost blessings from Allah for our devotion in prayers as well as self-control during the holy month of Ramadan. It’s also a day of celebration with friends and family while visiting each other and sharing meals of happiness, especially sweets,” said Mohsin.
“For us, the Eid celebrations started with early morning prayers. I went to the mosque with my children wearing new clothes. Upon returning home, a sumptuous breakfast was laid on the table. It was prepared by my wife and daughter. They were waiting for us to return and we all sat down and had breakfast together.”
He said the three days of Eid are packed with lunch and dinner invites. “On the first day, we had a few relatives at our place for dinner. The second day of Eid, we are are having a lunch get together at a restaurant in Dubai along with our colleagues and their families. Following this, we shall be visiting a few relatives and friends in the evening. On the third day, we have arranged an open house invitation from noon till 4pm for our friends from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, post which the holiday weekend ends and preparations start for office and school the next day.”
Indian expat Dr Samina Khatib and her husband Suhel welcomed their sons and families to their home for Eid. “Eid Al Fitr is a joyous celebration of togetherness, love and hope. It is a hope that our prayers and fasting are accepted by Allah and that we are now pure and forgiven,” she said.
It was a cherished family reunion her older son Samey, his wife Lynn and daughters Sophia and Ayla visited them. “So did my second son Safeer and his wife Kaya. The morning started with much excitement with Eid salah. We had brunch together, exchanged gifts and then spent the evening in Al Qudra Lake. It was a beautiful and relaxing day with family. Pure joy.”
South African pediatric occupational therapist and fitness instructor in Dubai Zerina Mukuddem hosted her annual ritual - an Eid breakfast - at her home. This year, she kept an open invite to anyone who wanted to come and spend time with her and her family at her residence over a sumptuous spread on the table.
She said, “I made Sheerkormo, a traditional milk dish we have in Cape Town, South Africa. There was also Pakistani halwa, puri with chana, Nihari. I made koeksisters, a spiced South African delicacy. I made my signature French toast too. A friend brought kheer, a traditional desi rice pudding.
“The breakfast turned into brunch - and beyond. Our last guests left around 4.30pm. It was a very fulfilling Eid day,” said Zerina. “My house was blessed with guests.”
Zerina said her husband Hanief, son Zuhayr and daughter Hanaa thoroughly enjoyed the get together as 27 adults and eight children attended her Eid party. “The day flew by. The Eid vibe was high. There was a mix of nationalities - Egyptian, British, Pakistani, Lebanese, Turkish, South African, a testament to the life in UAE where we make friends from a multi-cultural mix.”
Keeping traditions alive
Another expat and career coach Meghna Khan and husband Mohammad Umar Khan also hosted a party in her house inviting close friends. “Eid is a celebration after a whole month of fasting. It is a time to celebrate the festivity with family and friends over some traditional food. Being away from home, I like to teach my daughter the traditions that bind us together. “On the first day of Eid we keep the traditions alive by attending prayers, decorating our home and hosting a get-together. We also gave Eidi to children.”
She said she prepared Yakhni Pulao, Shammi Kabab, Mutton Korma, Dahi Bhalle, Sheer Korma and Kimami Seewiyan.
‘Eid is a big deal for us’
Elsewhere, expat Bushra Ali had a massive family reunion on the first day of Eid. She and her husband Muhammad, daughters Kanwal, Eman and son Yousuf met the extended family and enjoyed Eid.
“This year after a long time, the entire family had gathered at my sister-in-law’s house in Ajman. My brother-in-law, his wife and son also visited us from Riyadh for Eid. My mother-in-law too was there. We all had such a great time together.”
Bushra said there was sweet Sheer Korma, Haleem, Mutton Pulao, Roast Chicken, Meatballs Curry, Keema and more. “Eidi is a big deal in our house. The children all look forward to this fedstival. They all sat down and received their gifts from the elders. It was a well-spent day.”
Traditions – and chocolate cake
Filipino expat Sisters Luchie and Iman Suguitan, along with their mother Irene, and Iman's daughter Khadeejah celebrated Eid Al Fitr in a traditional way.
“The night Eid was announced, we started our celebrations and exchanged gifts. On the first day of Eid, we kept the tradition by waking up early. We had a shower and wore new clothes, new perfume too. After our dress up, we headed to the mosque for the morning prayer,” explained Luchie.
“After the morning Eid prayer, we went to the French Bakery for a relaxed breakfast.”
Iman said that after that, the family headed to their chocolate factory in Dubai to prepare their very own special cake for Eid. My mother, sister and my little daughter all made special chocolates as a treat for Eid.”
Luchie said on the second day of Eid, the family spent time with their colleagues.
“On the third day, we plan to go to a park so my little girl can play,” said Iman.