ABU DHABI // Families enjoyed an eggs-tra special day out yesterday as they celebrated the Christian Easter holiday.
About 150 children and their parents - expatriates and people on holiday - gathered at the Westin Hotel for fun-filled activities such as egg painting.
Other highlights included face painting, an egg hunt and an Easter bunny chase.
Children screamed with excitement as they chased the giant bunny across the hotel lawns, eager to be the first to stop him in his tracks after he had a 10-hop head start.
Chaos ensued when many of the youngsters ignored threats of disqualification and began to chase him down before the full 10 hops.
Others were already tired from the egg hunt, which saw scores of children scrambling for eggs across the hotel lawns, with some eager little ones running astray on to the adjacent golfing green.
Eggs are a symbol of rebirth, while the bunny, which represents fertility, often features in celebrations of the holiday, which marks the resurrection of Christ, according to the Bible.
John Maziliauskas attended the event with his wife and two daughters, Tara, 7, and Sarah, 17. He said that the event helped bring the expatriate community together.
"There is an expatriate camaraderie. All the expats turn up and you can see all your old friends, new friends and it's a fantastic atmosphere," he said. "The kids love it. They see all their school friends and it's a good get-together for them."
Louisa Smith, who works for an engineering firm in the capital, said it was lovely to toast Easter on Saturday, as she and many others would be working today, the traditional day of celebration known as Easter Sunday.
"It's nice to have something like this, where you get an opportunity to celebrate," said Ms Smith. "It's hard to get into the spirit of Easter otherwise, especially when you work on Easter Sunday."
Ms Smith said that back home in Australia, she would usually spend the day with her entire family, including her children, Kiera, 3 and Jasper, six months.
"It's difficult to educate the kids on the significance of Easter without a bit of context, so it's really nice to have this here," she said.
This Easter was the first Anja Cleves had spent away from her family.
The German hotel management trainee, who works at the Westin, said she felt a little homesick, but was happy to celebrate with new friends.
"It's not as strange as it was at Christmas, when the weather was even totally different to how it would be back home," she said. "At Easter, it's a big celebration which brings the whole family together, so I do feel a little homesick.
"But it's nice to see people coming with their children and seeing the same traditions I'd have at home. It's a piece of tradition even here."
Kerry Gilbert was at the event with her husband Nick and daughter Ellie, who was one of the first out to get egg hunting.
The family were on holiday from the UK and staying with Mrs Gilbert's sister-in-law this year.
"This is much better than the things we have back in the UK because often we have to be indoors," said Mrs Gilbert. "It's lovely to have the good weather and it's much more fun than being back home."