Families soak up the bright sunny weather at the Family Park on Abu Dhabi Corniche as they celebrate Eid on Sunday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The capital's streets were quiet and empty but its parks and restaurants were filled with people enjoying the first day of Eid on Sunday.

"We've always celebrated Eid in the UAE, usually in Abu Dhabi but we sometimes travel to Dubai with our families as well ... it's always lovely celebrating here, because we are together and the weather during this time of year is also quite nice," Amani Al Ganem, an Egyptian expatriate who is an Arabic teacher, said.

Amani was joined by her niece, Hiba, and her husband, Ahmad Saeed Al Ali, a petroleum engineer, their four children, Ali and Hind, Abdullah Rahib and two-month-old Khalid, as well as family friends, Hanan Ebrahim and her husband, Mohammad Anwar, also a petroleum engineer and their four children, Ahmad, Bahaa, Shahed and Yousuf.

Treats and games

"For today's barbecue, in addition to the traditional grilled meats, we've made a traditional Egyptian dish, fatteh, which is bread, rice cooked with vinegar, and garlic with meat and sauce that was prepared yesterday ... later we may take the children somewhere else for treats and games," Hiba said.

Nearby, other families were also taking advantage of the milder weather to celebrate Eid outdoors, whether for the first time or as part of an expected yearly event.

"We like celebrating Eid here because our relatives are here ... we prefer to have a barbecue instead of going to a restaurant because it's tradition ... afterwards though we may split up into different groups, depending on what each one wants to do, like the teenagers may prefer to do something while the adults have coffee," Samir Bou Kadi, a Tunisian expatriate who has a car showroom in Dubai, said.

He was joined by his wife, Gada, a speech therapist, and his sister, Samira, her husband, Yasin Haj Sassi, both faculty members at the Higher Colleges of Technology, and their children, Yasmine and Ameen.

Meeting friends

"Eid is about family, so it's always great to come together during this time ... but if given a chance, it would have been nice to travel back home and celebrate with our family and friends there," Samira said.

Her teenage daughter also noted that in addition to enjoying the day together, the younger generation also look forward to receiving gifts or money as part of the Eid celebrations.

"I received some money for Eid, but am not sure whether I'll buy something or save it for later ... also, while we'll have fun with our relatives today, I'm looking forward to meeting my friends later in the week, as we have a long school break for Eid," Yasmine said.