Eid Al-Adha in Dubai 2021

This year’s Eid Al-Adha will be the longest break of the year for UAE residents. According to The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources the holiday for Eid Al-Adha will be held for four days until July 22. It will begin on Monday, July 19, the Day of Arafat, and Tuesday, July 20 will be the first day of the holiday. The celebration Eid Al-Adha will last 4 days, and since Friday and Saturday are non-working days in the UAE, residents will have 6 days off in total.

Six-day holidays apply to all companies, various institutions and private-sector workers. However, only the four days of Eid weekend are paid. The working week in the UAE begins on Sunday, so normality will reconvene on Sunday 25th of July.

About Eid Al-Adha

Eid Al-Adha is the second of the two main Islamic holidays celebrated annually around the world. It begins on the 10th of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, and marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, which lasts 4 days. It also marks  the 70th day of the end of Lent in the month of Ramadan.

Eid Al-Adha begins at sunset the day before the actual day of the holiday. In most cases, employees of the UAE public sector receive 4 paid days off, while employees working in  the private sector receive 2 or 3 days, depending on the specifics of the company’s industry. Since during Eid Al-Adha it is customary to give gifts to one another, various stores, shopping centers and other establishments also recognize this tradition and offer numerous sales and discounts. This year one of the biggest annual sales, Dubai Summer Surprises, coincides with the Eid Al-Adha holiday. 

Eid Al-Adha translates as the Day of Sacrifice or “Feast of Sacrifice,” marking the culmination of the Hajj to Mecca and commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim. Jews and Christians know the story from the Bible, but the key difference is that Muslims believe the son was Ishmael, not Isaac, as the Old Testament says. According to the Qur’an, the angel Jibril appeared in his dream and commanded him to sacrifice his son Ismael by Allah’s will. To make the arrangements, Ibrahim then went to the valley of Mina, where Mecca was located. He took his son to the top of Mount Arafat. Ishmael followed his father, obeying the will of his parents and the Almighty. But just before his son was sacrificed, the angel Jibreel gave the prophet Ibrahim a ram as a substitute and told him to sacrifice it in his place. For Ibrahim’s devotion and faith, Allah gave Ishmael life. Since then, Muslims around the world have celebrated Eid al-Adha as the Day of Sacrifice.

Paying tribute and respect, as well as observing all the traditions associated with the feast, sacrifices are still made today. According to the Emirati government, it is forbidden to sacrifice openly in the streets; instead, any Muslim who wishes to do so may bring the sacrificial animal to the slaughterhouse where the ceremony will be performed. For the convenience of the spectators, the slaughterhouses have been equipped with special corridors with glass walls.

The sacrifice can only be performed during daylight hours and such events are attended by families of all ages and are broadcast on local television. In total, more than 3,000 lambs and sheep, cows or camels can be sacrificed in a single day. It is also very important that the animal must not have obvious defects or be sick.

Afterwards, the owner of the animal is given the carcass, from which various dishes are prepared. According to tradition, one-third of the meal is prepared for the family, one-third for relatives and friends, and the rest is to be given to the poor and needy. In addition, it is strictly forbidden to sell the meat or skins of sacrificial animals. But they can be presented or donated, so very often the skins are given to the poor as part of the meal or donated to the mosque. As the Almighty said:

“…then eat from them and feed the needy [who does not seek aid] and the beggar”. (Quran 22:36)

Celebrating Eid Al-Adha

Although holiday traditions differ from country to country, there are some common to all who celebrate Eid Al-Adha: Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha early in the morning by dressing up and performing collective prayers in mosques. The main ritual of sacrifice is followed by a festive feast with traditional food. There are several dishes that are usually served during Eid Al-Adha in Dubai:

  • Chicken machboos. This dish is fried chicken thighs in tomato, onion and herbs. It is usually served with rice.
  • Ouzi. Slow-cooked lamb or goat meat with rice and roasted pine nuts is one of the UAE’s most famous meals and it is an essential dish during Eid Al-Adha.
  • Luqaimat is a dessert dish made of doughnut-shaped balls dipped in honey. 
  • Eid al-Fitr is often referred to as a sweet feast because Muslims pay great attention to sweets, especially the traditional ones.

If you are planning a targeted visit to Dubai for Eid in 2021, it is worth considering that many hotels and resorts offer different promotions for this period of time.

The main part of any “to-do list for Eid Al-Adha” is undoubtedly restaurant visits. Some establishments are especially known for their amazing buffets and complete menus during Eid. Some of them are: Al Forsan Social Buffet, Al Hadheerah Desert Restaurant at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, one of the best restaurants in DIFC – BB, Bistro Des Art, Farriers Restaurant, WESLODGE Saloon. You can also visit eateries offering special Eid packages such as: Carine, Couqley, Atelier M, Reform Social & Grill, Mezzerie, Hotel Cartagena and Folly by Nick & Scott.

On July 22, the Coca-Cola Arena is partnering with Dubai Summer Surprise to host a concert for 1,500 vaccinated guests. The concert will  include guest celebrities from Asia and the Arab world. In addition, various events, exciting installations and fireworks are planned throughout the week.

In turn, fitness fanatics should visit Festival Plaza, which offers a programme of free classes on the weekends for a month, until the end of July 2021. You can also try BollyHIIT, Bhangra HIIT and Pilates with PAD Fitness for a fun alternative.

In Abu Dhabi, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) is organizing the so-called “Summer in Abu Dhabi’” where people can also enjoy entertainment programmes and fireworks during the Eid holidays.

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