UAE expats work, cook, travel during Eid Al Fitr| MENAFN.COM

Sunday, 26 June 2022 08:24 GMT

UAE expats work, cook, travel during Eid Al Fitr

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) It is that time of the year where people say goodbye to fasting and indulge in a three-day celebration of delicacies, family visits and gatherings. Khaleej Times spoke to three residents, to find out how they're marking Eid in very different ways.

Hamdi Ajimi
Team leader of transport department at a theme park in Dubai

Eid is marked by holidays, gatherings and fun times out, but some residents will be working to ensure a better Eid experience for others.

Hamdi Ajimi, who manages parking attendants and buggy drivers in a theme park in Dubai, will be on site to ensure smooth flow of visitors. "I can't deny that I'm feeling bad about not being able to spend this Eid with my family. However, I find solace in the smiles of our young visitors when I can see that they're having a great Eid," said the Tunisian resident, in the UAE since 2012.

At this job for two years, Ajimi said his favourite part is making sure all visitors get a proper welcome and enjoy their time. For Ajimi, finding peace in the morning Eid prayers after a month of fasting and the joy he sees in the faces of young children makes the feast memorable. He said Eid is always about the children, even back home in Tunisia. "If you think about it, it's never really about the grown-ups. This is how we end up happy, through their happiness." But being able to facilitate a memorable experience for families visiting the park pays off, he said.

Ghulam Murtaza
Worker at Emirates Logistics

Spending Eid away from family is tough, and that's why expat workers look to spend it with friends and take road trips to different cities. Ghulam Murtaza, a worker at Emirates Logistics since 2004, said he already eidiyah (Eid money) to his two boys in Pakistan, for new clothes and shoes.

"As long as my family is happy, I am happy. We exchange pictures of our Eid celebrations and I call them up to wish them happy Eid a day before the holidays start," said Murtaza, who hasn't seen his family for a year.

The 35-year-old worker will attend Eid prayers, then move to Al Ain to spend the day with his friends. He will call his family and relatives to wish them happy Eid. "At our accommodation, people usually start preparing dishes and going for a shave a day before Eid, then they visit their relatives and friends in other cities," said Murtaza.

"It's very sad to spend the feast away from home and that's why we look out for one another. We get our happiness from moving from a city to another with relatives and friends."
Although workers enjoy life in the UAE, some of them go back to their families when the distance gets too much. Murtaza said what keeps him patient is the happiness of his family back home.

Now that fasting during his working hours is over, Murtaza said he looks forward to having Eid delicacies, his favourite being the rasmalai dessert. "Fasting was tough during work, but performing your duty is part of the religion. When you work hard and sincerely, you're blessed," he said. "So Ramadan passed smoothly."

Benedetta Paravia
Italian philanthropist and producer

In UAE's multicultural environment that has over 200 nationalities, non-Muslims similarly enjoy the Eid spirit and friends gatherings. Benedetta Paravia, an Italian philanthropist and producer residing in UAE since 2002, said Eid celebrations remind her of the festive spirit back home that revolves around family. "The Arab culture is very similar to the Italian family-oriented culture.

Generosity and hospitability are qualities both cultures share, which makes the UAE feel like home to me," said Paravia, who's the project manager of The Intercultural Project for Zayed University students. This year, she will go to Oman with her husband Marco Antonio for the first time. "We will ride a boat to Musandam and Dibba." She will pay visits to Emirati families who have been her friends for decades. "I love their family gatherings because it's full of love and warmth. I feel part of their family and enjoy their food and delicacies," said Paravia.

Getting married last May in an Abu Dhabi court under Shariah law, Paravia said Eid for them means peace, harmony, generosity, joy, compassion and caring for the beloved ones. Nostalgia plays an important role in Eid celebrations with her friends. "We usually exchange old pictures and videos of us from 10-15 years ago, or exchange old articles talking about the old projects achieved together," she said. Her favourite part is she is forced to take a break and relax with her loved ones.

Sherouk Zakaria "Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."


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