The faithful offer prayers at Al Noor Mosque, Sharjah. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today
Expatriates from different nationalities in the UAE celebrated another Eid without exchanging traditional greetings but laden with all the religious fervour. They willingly embraced the rules on not greeting each other by hugging or shaking hands, so that social distancing was maintained under the government’s directions to adhere to the coronavirus SOPs (standard operating procedures).
The faithful performed special Eid prayers in their respective mosques as the government had already issued directives on worshippers keeping a distance between themselves during prayers and refraining from exchanging greetings the conventional way once the Eid prayers were over.
The imams and officials in mosques had been constantly warning worshippers that they should not step out of line where the instructions were concerned, so that the virus was kept in check.
Many residents, while talking to Gulf Today, said that since the pandemic last year, the true happiness of celebrating Eid was missing but they also hailed the government for taking all the measures on a war footing to protect the community.
A family poses for a selfie after Eid prayers in Sharjah. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today.
“I’ve been in the country for many years and this is my fourth Eid as we are missing the traditional exchanging of Eid greetings. But with the full implementation of the government’s directives, we are enjoying our holidays in peace with our families and friends,” said Kamal Ahmed, an expatriate from India residing in Sharjah for over six years.
Another resident, Matiullah from Afghanistan, pointed out, “Due to the summer, with the unbearable hot weather, we along with our expats from different countries are planning to celebrate the long holidays by visiting new places and exploring the hidden gems of entertainment spread across Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Khorfakkan. Our plans include a live barbecue, dance and drive through the dunes in the evening as everyone wants adventure, even in the desert, and the Eid holidays are the right time,” he said.
Families visit each other's homes with sacrificial meat and try scrumptious dishes while children and elders chill in air-conditioned drawing rooms. “There are occasions when we visit friends in their homes as everyone here has a busy schedule even during the holidays. Eid holidays are the perfect time to see each other and celebrate the festival together,” said Rasheed, a resident who has been living in the country with his family for a couple of years.
Eid greetings are emblazoned on the Burj Khalifa in an illuminative display.
There were families who are enjoying their Eid holidays having booked rooms in hotels of their favourite destinations. Catering for the demand of such staycations, many hotels in different emirates already announced various promotional packages.
“Due to limited travel options after the COVID-19 pandemic, we preferred to book our holidays in local hotels and resorts. There are many great hotels and resorts across the UAE where one can never be bored and enjoy plenty of entertainment activities from live music, open-air food cooking and many more,” said Tariq Khan, an Indian resident of Dubai.
It should also be mentioned that the organisers of ongoing Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) have arranged for a number of concerts to bring music icons from different countries to perform in Dubai during the Eid holidays which are also a great source of entertainment for music lovers across different nationalities.
Saifullah Khan, a resident and businessman from Pakistan, said that his family could not join him as they were stranded in Pakistan due to suspension of flights to the UAE. “Eid, either Adha or Al Fitr, is meant to be celebrate with families, relatives and friends. I was expecting my family to be back earlier this month but the flights from Pakistan to the UAE have been suspended and my plans also have been affected. Now, along with many other expatriates, I am observing Eid without our families but planning different activities with friends and colleagues,” he said.
He hoped that the flight operations would resume soon so that expats would be reunited with their families.
Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council, the Rulers of the Emirates have conveyed their sincere greetings on Eid Al Adha to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, wishing him good health and further prosperity and glory to UAE people.
The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has sent cables of greetings to kings, presidents and Emirs of Arab and Islamic countries.
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