Eid Al Fitr: How UAE residents are making the most of a long weekend amidst COVID-19

Vinu Anthony
Vinu Antony enjoys a day in the desert with family. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: At home or in the desert; out of town, at public parks or at a hotel ‘staycation’; face-to-face or online … There are myriads of ways in which UAE residents are enjoying the long Eid weekend. But no matter where they are, family and friends are always at the heart of these celebrations.

Filipino expatriate and Dubai resident Hashim Guinomla told Gulf News: “The first day of Eid (Thursday) is spent with family. With international travel restrictions still in place, we will go only on local or domestic tourism. We are planning to have a road trip to visit the nature parks and beaches in nearby emirates.”

Dubai resident Hashim Guinomla with family enjoys the outdoors during the Eid break. Image Credit: Supplied

There are no more large family gatherings, in compliance with the health and safety protocol put in place by the government. However, Indian national Reena Singh, 37, and her family said the celebrations were no less joyful. She said: “In these testing times, we are aware of our responsibilities — not only towards our on family, but also to the community. It’s very important to unite and break the chain of infection. This Eid is all about spending time with family, making the bond stronger and catching up with friends and family online.”

Long weekend

UAE residents have been enjoying a long Eid break since Tuesday, May 11, and vacation for many residents will be until Shawwal 3, the last day of Eid Al Fitr on Saturday, May 15. This is because UAE authorities have announced the holidays early on this time. That is why Dubai resident Inshirah Taib and her family have booked a hotel staycation well in advance for family and relatives.

 Inshirah Taib
Dubai resident Inshirah Taib and her family have booked a hotel staycation well in advance for family and relatives to celebrate Eid.. Image Credit: Supplied

“Days before Eid, we have already booked our stay. The first day of Eid will be at home with family and close relatives. We will enjoy special Maranao delicacies, including chicken piaparan, beef randang and fish piaparan,” added Inshirah, who is from Marawi City in southern Philippines.

“Then we will check into the hotel, where we will be staying for at least two days. We will also exchange gifts and we will virtual gatherings over Zoom,” she added.

Eid in the desert

Mike and May Malate
Mike and May Malate have been enjoying the great outdoors in UAE during the Eid Al Fitr break. Image Credit: Supplied

Indian expatriate Vinu Antony, 38, and her family are enjoying the relatively fair weather in the UAE now. She told Gulf News: “We’d gone biking in the desert, donning masks and gloves, and it was surely a fun affair. We also took out time to celebrate the little things and big joys that keep enthralling us. One of them was exploring different cuisines. We had a real good time and being in a country that values tolerance, it is our privilege to keep these traditions alive and celebrate every festival here in the UAE.”

Mike and May Malate, meanwhile, have also been enjoying the great outdoors together with their children. The couple said: “We’re spending the weekend trekking and camping and will also visit some of nature’s hidden gems in the Northern Emirates.”