Thousands of Muslims in the UAE returned to celebrate Eid Al Fitr with much-needed pomp and gaiety on Monday after two years of subdued festivities due to pandemic restrictions.

Eid remains a strictly family-only affair for most residents and visitors. However, several expatriates and nationals took the opportunity to meet with their extended relatives and friends, an activity they had to evade for the past two years. Covid-19 cases in the UAE have steadily dropped from mid-February to March.

On Monday, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention reported only 222 positive cases of the Covid-19, along with 368 recoveries and no deaths. The positive trend in this matter and the relaxation of mask-wearing and other safety rules encouraged residents to go big with their celebrations.

After the early morning Eid Al Fitr prayers, residents headed home for their first breakfast after the holy month of Ramadan.

Tamara Syed, the digital marketing head of Airways Aviation, said, "Today has been extremely eventful. It started with Eid salah at our masjid in Dubai Sports City, and then we drove to Ajman to meet with our extended family members."

She added, "We had traditional lunch and sweets. The day only got more special after we received our Eidiya."

For Tamara, reuniting and celebrating together with extended family members magnified the joys of Eid. "It was something we were missing a lot due to the Covid situation. This year, we were also able to invite our parents to celebrate with us, which doubled our joy," she added.

Big family celebrations and festivities made a comeback this year. A day before the festivities, families had thronged shopping malls and supermarkets for last-minute Eid shopping and to buy paraphernalia for the Eid feast.

"Eid is a strictly family-only affair for most communities in the UAE," said Abdul Rafi. "We celebrated Eid with our uncle, aunts, brothers and sisters at my uncle's house. A total of seven families got together to make our post-Eid Covid-19 celebration memorable. It was a perfect gathering as this is something we are doing after a very long time," he added.

Abdul also pointed out that many new members in the family were meeting the extended family after a long time. "My son is three years old, and my cousins saw him when he was just one year old. It was a merry time for all the kids who met each other. This is how Eid was, and I'm happy we were able to experience it," he added.

Food remains a central theme of festivals in almost every culture, and the Eid celebration is no different. "Traditionally, most communities here have a biryani or some meat dish for Eid," said Pakistani expatriate Mohammed Saqlain Khan.

"My family is no exception. Since we were at least 18 people at home for lunch today, the feast was spectacular. We spent the evening drinking tea and playing games with the kids. After sunset, we sometimes play cricket," he added.

Sumayya, a Pakistani expat living in Ras Al Khaimah, travelled to Abu Dhabi to celebrate Eid. "I'm so grateful for all my Creator's blessings upon me and my family. This year, we are celebrating Eid in Abu Dhabi and enjoying every bit of it."


Some families took the opportunity to head over to famous tourist spots after the morning Eid prayer.

Mohammed Zaheer Kota, a resident of Sharjah, said he celebrated the day with his cousins. He planned the day as he was eagerly awaiting the return of a 'close to customary Eid celebrations.

"I went to Sharjah masjid for Fajr and Eid prayers. I met many of my friends and family members here at the mosque. Post our prayers, I returned home and started my preparations for lunch as I was expecting guests. We haven't celebrated this way in a long time," he added.

After lunch, Zaheer and his cousins went to popular tourist destinations for sightseeing.


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