Maan Al Shaar kissing his brother Omer Al Al Shaar after Eid Al Adha prayers at Al Noor Masjid in Sharjah yesterday. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

ABU DHABI: Residents from all walks of life were out celebrating the first day of Eid Al Adha in the UAE, sharing the holiday’s joyous occasion with family and close friends.

For many residents, their Eid activities started with the morning Eid prayers, as thousands of worshippers of all ages thronged mosques across the emirates for the prayer that comes just twice a year, making it a significant rite for many.

The Eid prayers are a community event, with worshippers offering their wishes and greetings to one another after the prayers.

The community feel of Eid was palpable throughout the day, with family members and friends visiting each others’ homes for the customary Eid greetings. For the young ones, the traditional ‘eidiya’ — Eid gifts that often come in the form of money — was also on hand at most homes.

Shopping malls and restaurants were packed throughout the day as residents headed out to celebrate the occasion with lunch, dinner and shopping. Shopping malls across the emirates also extended their opening hours and offered several Eid shopping deals and discounts.

Theme parks were also busy with many families visiting attractions like Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, enjoying roller coaster rides, water slides and a host of other entertainment activities. In Dubai, too, major attractions drew huge crowds. Dubai Culture and Arts Authority announced that a number of cultural activities and programmes were being conducted at Dubai Museum aimed to bring together people of various nationalities and cultures as well as consolidate the UAE’s culture and heritage. The activities were being organised to reflect national identity and give visitors a chance to explore Eid Al Adha and related traditions in an interactive atmosphere.

The celebrations everywhere continued into the night with spectacular Eid fireworks, as large crowds were dazzled by the displays. The fireworks shows in most places will be taking place on each night of the holidays, giving residents ample opportunities to enjoy themselves.

What are these residents doing for Eid?

Komariah Mihraz

Komariah Mihraz, Indonesian

“I am celebrating the long Eid holidays here in the UAE visiting friends and family. This is a good time to catch up. We will be enjoying traditional Indonesian food at these gatherings, which makes the experience more enjoyable because it feels like we are back home. The Indonesian Embassy also hosted celebratory activities, including morning prayers, which was very enjoyable.”

Asif Ashraf

Asif Ashraf, Indian

“My plans for Eid include spending time with close family. This involves lunches, dinners and several gatherings. For the kids there are many fun activities. Throughout my life, Eid has always been a time to be with family. It’s one of the most enjoyable aspects about the Eid and so it’s a tradition I stick with. Along with my plans in Abu Dhabi, I will be visiting other emirates like Dubai and Umm Al Quwain with the family. It’s going to be a very nice relaxing time.”

Bilal Khalil

Bilal Khalil, Lebanese

“I am spending Eid with my father and mother, I have planned out the whole holiday to be together with them. I want to enjoy some true quality time with them as it is a long holiday, I believe on this special occasion you need to be with your loved ones. I am usually busy with work and don’t get as much time to see them. This is the perfect time to be with close family.”