Residents in the UAE are observing Easter in distinctive ways, honouring their individual cultural customs that are tied to their respective countries.

Easter this year will be observed on Sunday, March 31, with the festival being one of the most important celebrations in the Christian calendar. It honours the Resurrection of Jesus three days after his death by crucifixion.

For many Christian churches, Easter is the joyful conclusion to the Lenten season of devoted prayer, fasting, and penitence. Khaleej Times reached out to a few residents who shared how they are celebrating this festive day.

Chocolates and Easter eggs

American expat Natalia Miranda, who has been gearing up for this special Sunday, said that nothing quite sets the holiday ambiance like sprucing up your home with seasonal decorations, especially as Easter approaches.

“I start stocking up on new decorations for the upcoming spring celebration well in advance. I always order these decorative items online from the US. This includes tasty chocolates and hand-painted eggs galore. But we also prepare our own eggs. This entails boiling the eggs first and buying the egg-dying kit. My seven-year-old son and I then dye those eggs and add stickers to them. These are then kept in the refrigerator for later use on the main day. I subsequently craft a treasure map, creating a novel tradition of my own making. My son eagerly embarks on the treasure hunts, following the map's clues.”

She explained the trend of Easter baskets is also deeply rooted in tradition. It apparently originated when the children used to make tiny nests of fallen leaves and branches so that the Easter Bunny could leave presents there. “This evolved to having, and making Easter Baskets for presents and gifts.”

Natalia explained that on this special occasion, the family enjoys going out for a meal.

“I am not a great cook,” she quipped. “Additionally, some of the hotel brunch options also include activities such as egg hunts for children, alongside a generous buffet spread. This creates an enjoyable experience for all involved.”

The Dubai resident reiterates Easter features a magnificent feast containing roasted lamb, boiled eggs, Easter biscuits, hot cross buns, potatoes, carrots, and other seasonal vegetables.

“The one American tradition that we definitely maintain is to ensure that none of these boiled eggs go to waste. Instead, they are enjoyed throughout the upcoming week in various delicious preparations such as egg-potato salad, egg sandwiches or any other egg-themed dishes.”

Although Easter traditions vastly vary around the world, it was believed that wearing a new garment on Easter Sunday would bring good luck and blessings throughout the rest of the year.

While this practice may not be as widely followed or believed in modern times, the tradition of dressing up for Easter Sunday remains a significant aspect of the holiday for many people.

Church visits and traditional meals

Filipino expatriate Felizze Faye Navarro described how attending church forms an integral component of her family’s yearly Easter tradition.

“We dress up and attend the church on this day; our plan is then to head out for lunch. The UAE offers a myriad of activities within its malls. One such activity my son is excited about is an Easter egg hunt. It's a special occasion, and we look for unique experiences on this day. Despite my children's young age, including one who is still an infant, I enjoy sharing the Easter backstory with them. It's a way to instill understanding, especially in the older one, about the significance of Easter.”

Felizze also highlighted how much she likes to decorate her home for Easter, as a gentle reminder of the occasion. “I typically print out a bunny template and create a small basket of colored eggs. Sometimes, I even paint real eggs.”

“In my home town province in the Philippines, egg hunting isn't a thing. Instead, our Easter gatherings revolve around the church, where our extended family—parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents—would all gather. Those were cherished moments, especially the big dinner hosted at my grandparents' house. I miss those times dearly. Our Easter feast usually consisted of roasted chicken, Pancit noodles, and Lumpia fried spring rolls,” she added.

Activations in malls and play areas

Simultaneously, play areas and malls around the country are organising a promising day filled with joy and endless opportunities for family fun.

Children will be able to delight in the thrill of the hunt as they scour vibrant play areas in search of hidden Easter eggs, promising an adventurous time filled with excitement and discovery.

Some malls will have children decorate Easter eggs with colourful paints, glitter, and stickers.

Others are organising an egg race and bunny craft stations where children can craft adorable bunny-themed creations to take home.

“We believe in creating moments of joy and connection for families, and our Easter Celebration is the perfect opportunity to do just that,” said Rumana Mowjee who is the Managing Partner at Gymboree Play & Music Dubai. “We’re excited to welcome families for a day of laughter, creativity, and Easter-themed fun that will surely leave everyone with cherished memories to last a lifetime.”

Dine in style

Meanwhile, some hotels are offering ‘egg-cellent brunches’ to splendid Sunday roasts.

Emirates customers flying in every class to Australia, USA, Canada, Europe, UK, Brazil, Philippines, South Africa, Mauritius, and Ghana, will enjoy a sumptuous selection of Easter treats onboard. Kids in all classes will receive a brightly coloured ‘Happy Easter’ biscuit shaped like an Easter egg. In the A380 Onboard Lounge, customers can relish traditional Easter Simnel fruitcake with marzipan.

Copyright © 2022 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (