Muslims across the UAE began Eid Al Adha celebrations with prayers and greetings on Wednesday.

After the meetings and greetings of the Eid prayers in the morning, men headed to abattoirs and got started with the sacrifice of their animals.

Eid Al Adha is celebrated in remembrance of the devotion and faithfulness of Prophet Ibrahim to Allah.

“The first day is quite busy and hectic for me and my friends, because a lot of time is consumed in buying and sacrificing the animal. This is a practice that we have been following for many years,” Dubai resident Ali bin Salem told Khaleej Times.

“In the evening, we have a major feast on the first day where friends invite other friends and colleagues. So, this becomes a big feast where many friends of other nationalities also join us,” he added.

Enjoying the feast together

The main spirit of the joyful celebration is for families to gather and enjoy the feast together.

“Eid Al Adha and Eid Al Fitr are the two festivals that we all look forward to for get-togethers with extended families and friends. First of all, we meet immediately after the prayers in the morning, and then we have regular gatherings for three days in the evenings. Therefore, Eid brings a lot of great memories that we cherish all our lives,” noted Sharjah resident Umme Ahmed.

Ahmareen Siddiqui, also a Sharjah resident, noted that during Eid Al Adha, they typically begin their day by attending the special Eid prayer at the mosque, dressed in their finest traditional attire and offering greetings of "Eid Mubarak" (meaning "Blessed Eid") to one another.

Sharing traditional dishes and sweets

Families and friends come together to celebrate the festival by enjoying special meals, exchanging gifts, and paying visits to one another. It is a time of feasting and sharing delicious food, including traditional dishes and sweets.

“Celebrating a festival like Eid Al Adha in UAE is an emotional experience for expats like me. Marking the festival in a country which we all call our ‘second home’ has a greater significance,” added the expat school teacher.

Later in the day, they visit and meet friends and relatives at each other houses. “The evening time is always reserved for outings with friends in parks where we all indulge in barbeques, biryani and lots of fun, which usually [goes on] until midnight."

Celebrating Eid Al Adha "at our home away from home" is definitely an occasion to remember forever,” she added.

Opting for open-air public prayers

Despite initially intending to join the Eid prayers in the comfort of an air-conditioned mosque, Faheem bin Ammar, a resident of Deira, had a change of heart and opted to make his way toward the open-area prayer ground instead.

"I decided to give up the idea of praying in a cool, air-conditioned setting. I realised that the opportunity to pray at this ground only arises twice a year. Instead of choosing convenience, I embraced a 20-minute walk from my house to Baraha Eid Musallah. Despite the heat, its impact was minimal, as I had expected it to be much hotter.”

“At the prayer ground, I managed to meet many of my friends whom I had not met in ages. We are going for a quick karak, and then a get-together at one of my friend’s places,” said Ammar.

Mohammed Sami, an Algerian national residing in Sharjah, offered his Eid prayers at the Deira prayer ground along with his brothers and other family members. He said the summer heat did not bother them at all.

“As we gather to celebrate the festival of sacrifice, commemorating the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim, let us reflect: Can we not sacrifice a mere few minutes outside for the sake of prayer?” noted Sami.

He added: “I was just looking [at] the faces around and I saw no signs of displeasure. In fact, people were smiling and greeting each other. This love, belongingness and brotherhood illuminated my soul.”

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