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Authentic traditions shine through the UAE’s Eid Al Fitr celebrations

Authentic traditions shine through the UAE’s Eid Al Fitr celebrations
8 Apr 2024 09:26

SARA ALZAABI (ABU DHABI)


Marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the UAE celebrates Eid Al Fitr with a combination of the distinct customs that complement the country’s rich history and culture.

These celebrations strengthen familial ties and foster a sense of community unity.

Preparations for Eid

With Eid just around the corner, the UAE is full of energy as the country prepares for the festivities. People visit busy markets, looking for the ideal Kandooras (a long white robe traditionally worn by men in Gulf countries), Abayas ( a long black loose-fitting robe for women that covers the entire body except for the face, hands, and feet), and other pieces of traditional clothing.

It is not just about the clothes; families also buy or prepare sweets, like cakes, biscuits, and other baked goods to share with guests during Eid.

Meanwhile, women and girls in the UAE enjoy the long-standing custom of decorating their hands with henna in advance of the celebrations.

Fragrances play a key role as well, with oud and rose perfumes as well as incense adding a touch of luxury to both clothing and homes.

Mohammad Mustafa, a seller at one of the UAE’s renowned perfume stores, told Aletihad: “During this time of the year, there is an increased demand in the perfume market due to Eid. People prepare for Eid by purchasing perfumes and incense, particularly oud and musk, which are commonly chosen scents for Eid, either for personal use or as gifts.”

In the UAE, some families have a tradition of buying gold and accessories before the holiday, leading to busy jewellery markets.

Omar Mahmoud, a seller at a well-known jewellery store, noted: “There is a significant surge in demand in the jewellery market, particularly with Eid and Mother’s Day coinciding closely together. While women are typically the primary buyers, there is also a notable percentage of men purchasing gifts for their mothers or wives.”

The UAE’s cities and towns themselves also prepare for the occasion, as squares and streets are filled with decorations like colourful lights spelling out festive phrases like “Eid Mubarak”.

Charities, in turn, increase their focus on distributing aid, fostering unity and brotherhood as families join in these altruistic efforts.

Eid Greetings

The Eid Al Fitr holiday in the Emirates is incomplete without family visits that strengthen ties.
Following the Eid prayer, people begin visiting relatives and friends, beginning at their neighbours’ homes before progressing to visits with family.

Congratulations and blessings are traditionally exchanged in homes, public gatherings, or at the homes of community leaders.

This tradition, whether through personal visits, phone calls, or online messages, symbolises the essence of the holiday and promotes a sense of unity.

Eid Fawwala

Another of the country’s longstanding traditions, symbolising generosity and hospitality is Eid Fawwala. 
Derived from the concept of good omens, “Fawwala” involves families and communities preparing an array of delights, including traditional sweets, dates, juices, nuts, fruits, and Arabic coffee, to offer to guests and visitors.   

Eidiya

“Eidiya” is a common Eid Al Fitr custom observed in various Muslim societies, including the UAE. The traditional involves elders offering modest presents to children, usually money, as a way to show them their generosity, blessings, and kindness on Eid.

Children eagerly anticipate Eidiya, and receive their gifts in vibrant packets or envelopes.
This tradition is not limited to children, but includes all in general, with variations from one area to another.

Children wear new clothes and visit relatives to collect their Eidiya after prayers, which they then typically use to purchase sweets.

Eid Lunch

A beloved custom in the UAE is Eid lunch, a feast shared on the first day of Eid with family, friends, and relatives. 
Favourites like “Majboos” (a flavourful rice dish with spiced meat, garnished with fried onions and nuts) or “Biryani” (a fragrant rice dish cooked with meat, spices, and aromatic herbs) are displayed on the table along with a range of traditional Emirati dishes including fish, chicken, lamb, or soup.

Family Trips

It is also common for families in the UAE to organise trips over the holiday.

These trips may involve exploring the diverse attractions within the country, such as visiting cultural landmarks, malls, gardens, zoos, or enjoying outdoor activities.

Alternatively, some families choose to go overseas, visiting well-known tourist spots and experiencing various cultures.

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