What you need to know about joining Eid celebrations
One of the easiest ways to get into the spirit of Eid in Dubai is to simply wish people in the city an “Eid Mubarak,” which translates to “blessed Eid”. But beyond that, there's plenty of opportunity to take part in the celebrations and join the community in marking this important Islamic holiday.
What is Eid?
First off, there are actually two Eid holidays during the year: Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. A hugely important date in the Islamic calendar, Eid Al Fitr – translated from Arabic as "the festival of breaking the fast" – is celebrated by Muslims all over the world as it marks the end of Ramadan and signals the beginning of Shawwal (the tenth month in the lunar Islamic calendar).
The second, Eid Al Adha, occurs later in the year following the Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj, and is considered the ‘Greater Eid’ of the two. It lasts for four days starting on the tenth day of Dhu Al Hijjah (the 12th and final month of the lunar Islamic calendar).
When is Eid in Dubai?
Because Eid dates are dependent on the lunar cycles, the dates change every year in the Gregorian calendar.
What happens during Eid in Dubai?
Families usually start the day with an early wake-up and morning prayers inside their home or at a nearby mosque. This is then followed by a lunchtime feast with friends and family to reflect on the previous month of Ramadan. It's also customary to exchange gifts with your loved ones and donate to the less fortunate during this time.
Why spend Eid in Dubai?
While most Muslims tend to spend most of the first day of Eid at home or at the home of friends or family, during the following two days, Dubai comes alive as the city's residents – both Muslim and non-Muslim – go out and celebrate.
The malls are packed, cinema seats are scarce, taxis are hard to come by and restaurants boast long queues throughout the holiday. On top of that, the city comes to life with exciting activities, traditional dance performances, live music and special shows in all the major public spaces across Dubai.
1. Eid is a time for celebrating with amazing food
Eid Al Fitr translates from Arabic to “the festival of breaking the fast”, so it's no surprise that much of the long weekend celebrations revolve around eating. The holiday marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting for Muslims, so sharing food with family and friends is central to Eid celebrations.
In the UAE, ouzi, a local dish of slow-cooked succulent lamb or goat mixed with rice and topped with fried pine nuts is one of the signature dishes, as is chicken machboos (chicken thighs cooked in tomatoes, onions and herbs, served with basmati rice). Luqaimat, sweet, donut-style dough balls dipped in honey, are also a ubiquitous (and delicious) addition to the Eid holiday.
Get involved: enjoy an Emirati-style feast at Seven Sands. Bookings recommended. The Beach JBR, +971 4 551 6652.
2. Eid ushers in new festivities
While the month of Ramadan remains a quiet and reflective time of year in Dubai, Eid in Dubai brings with it a great deal of buzz and excitement. With the Eid Al Fitr long weekend, the emirate's top malls and entertainment spots put on spectacular shows welcoming tourists and visitors alike. There’s roaming shows, special performances, music concerts and so much more. Plus, Dubai’s top theme parks IMG Worlds of Adventure and Dubai Parks and Resorts have special treats in store for all, making it the perfect time to head there with your family.
Get involved: get roller coaster ready at IMG Worlds of Adventure. City of Arabia, Dubailand. +971 600 500962.
3. There are great bargains to be had
Gift-giving is an important part of the Eid holiday and the city's malls and boutiques become hotspots for flash sales and bargains leading up to the long weekend. From discounts at department stores and big-name brands to seasonal Eid collections, the majority of Dubai's malls get into the spirit of the holiday one way or another. Sales are typically announced at the last-minute – keep your eyes glued to mall websites for more information.
Get involved: shop the incredible sales at Mall Of The Emirates.