Eid in Dubai is all about fun, food, shopping and basically spending time with the family.
Festive times are always about good vibes and in Dubai there are actually not one but two Eid holidays for Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. Eid Al Fitr which means festival of breaking the fast signals the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal, the tenth month in the lunar Islamic calendar.
The festivities for Eid start early with morning prayers either at home or at a mosque and is followed by an extensive lunch feast. Usually celebrated for three days it is custom to exchange gifts and especially young children get money from their elders. Fatima Malallah, a 16 year old student in Dubai says, “for girls it is also the time to look their best so it is all about new clothes, new abhayas and wearing makeup to look their best in the family celebrations. Boys also dress using traditional wear at this time. Since Eid is celebrated after a month of fasting, we have a lot of food to eat during Eid.” Typically families in Dubai spend the first day of Eid at home and the next two days are celebrated outside at malls, cinemas and restaurants. Naturally all the commercial establishments are abuzz with activity and make special plans in advance whether it is discounts on shopping, traditional dance performances, live music or special shows that are held across the city. In fact being a time for family bonding, the theme parks like IMG Worlds of Adventure and Dubai Parks and Resorts have special offers and packages for the entire family too. The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the Mall of Emirates have exciting events lined up and usually are the most frequented at this time. Noora Fairooz who is interning at a media firm and a student recollects her childhood memories of Eid and says, “in the three day celebrations we would get a lot of money on the first day and some more on the second day. So my siblings and me would collect it all and go to Toys ‘R’ Us a toy store and spend all the money on toys, it is a memory that will always stay with me.” A visit to the Dubai Festival City that has a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate Eid is a must too.
Food interestingly is largely traditional at this time and includes some typical dishes like Ouzi made with slow-cooked succulent lamb or goat and rice that is topped with fried pine nuts is one of the signature dishes, Chicken Machboos a dish made with chicken thighs cooked in tomatoes, onions and herbs, served with basmati rice and Luqaimat a sweet, donut-style dough balls dipped in honey or date syrup. Iftar food during Eid is amazing and includes a host of dishes both traditional and contemporary keeping in mind Dubai’s expatriate population. Interestingly as a run up to Eid, community food tables are set up not just in mosques but also outside homes where food is laid out for anyone to eat. Locally called Iftar Saim this involves distributing food to the lesser privileged and is also an important lesson in the art of learning to give. Le Meridien Dubai has planned an Eid Brunch on the Friday, with Eid decorations and will have traditional desserts including the Arabic Eid sweet ‘Kahk’. “We wake up early to hear the Eid Prayer and walk to the mosques in the morning for the Eid prayer. On the way top the mosques, you will see the little ones accompanying their parents, giving ‘saddaka’ to the poor ones who they meet on their way. After the prayer, the families start planning to visit the relatives and neighbours on the first day,” says Nour Hashem – PR Manager, Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre & Le Meridien Fairway. So it is time to ring in the celebrations.