Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 September 2019

Eid Al Fitr 2019: Boomtimes for bakers, beauticians and businesses

Tailors see their busiest week of the year – one is making outfits for a family with 10 children

Ahmed Mohammed, pictured holding a zebra print abaya, and Masoud Abdulla at their shop in Ras Al Khaimah. Satish Kumar for The National
Ahmed Mohammed, pictured holding a zebra print abaya, and Masoud Abdulla at their shop in Ras Al Khaimah. Satish Kumar for The National

Life can chug along at a sedate pace in the Northern Emirates, including Ras Al Khaimah, for most part of the year.

However, with the onset of Ramadan, some businesses see a pre-Eid rush that hands them months' of work in the space of just days.

The demand for traditional embroidered abayas and kanduras keeps tailoring stores busy until the last day of Ramadan and into Eid Al Fitr, the festival of celebration that follows the holy month.

“We stopped taking tailoring orders on the 15th day of Ramadan as the dresses wouldn't be ready on time [if we took any more],” said Masoud Abdulla, 28, from Afghanistan, who works at Jamal Al Aroos ladies tailoring and embroidery shop in Ras Al Khaimah.

“The festive atmosphere really begins one week before Ramadan when families start to come and choose the dress fabric, design and provide the measurements,” he said.

Customers are seen flocking to markets before iftar on the last weekend of Ramadan, despite the recent spike in temperatures.

“We all placed our orders as early as possible and today I came to pick them up,” said Sheikha Al Sadi, a 45-year-old Emirati mother of 10 children, who lives in the Dhait district outside RAK city.

“It is a very important occasion. We all need to be dressed up and ready during Eid.

"I designed two embroidered dresses for myself and for the girls. I’m glad that they are ready on time just before Eid starts,” she said.

Eid outfits are one of many preparations that require hours spent in shops – and a full purse.

“We also bought accessories, shoes, gifts, sweets and a new living room set to welcome our guests,” she said.

“The best thing is that everyone in the family takes part in the preparations and that is part of the Eid joy."

A steady rush of customers is expected on the last day of Ramadan as people come to collect their new clothes.

“All the shops stay open till 3am to give the customers the maximum time to collect their clothes,” said Sultan Mohdeen, the 48-year-old Indian owner of a tailoring shop that makes kanduras for men and boys.

He has been in the business since 1983, taking over from his father. He plans for his son to become a tailor too, not least to cope with the huge demand seen at this time of year.

Ras Al Khaimah, May, 30, 2019: Samer Dibsawi at his chocolate shop in Ras Al Khaimah . Satish Kumar/ For the National/ Story by Ruba Haza
A chocolate shop owner goes through his inventory in Ras Al Khaimah. Satish Kumar for The National

His store has received about 7,000 orders, keeping tailors and seamstresses busy around the clock.

“Eid is our high season, we try to make our customers happy by offering reasonable prices so that everyone becomes satisfied, us and them,” he said.

Families often make engagements around the clock, visiting scores of relatives and friends in a country in which most of the workforce is off.

“It requires a large budget to cover all the Eid expenses but I try my best to make everyone happy,” said Ali Al Mazroui, a 42-year-old Emirati father of six.

“On the first day of Eid, we visit all of our family members, starting at my parents house.

It requires a large budget to cover all the Eid expenses but I try my best to make everyone happy

Ali Al Mazroui, father of six

"And then we move one to offer Eid greetings to the uncles and aunts.

“Eid is a very special time to all of us, it brings us closer and gives us a chance to spend more quality time together."

Essential to any Eid celebration is Arabic-style sweets – huge trays of them.

Ayman Al Hariri, who works at one of the oldest bakeries in Ras Al Khaimah Al Fajr Sweets, said they have orders for 800 trays.

“We prepare Maamoul – a famous Arab cookie filled with dates or nuts – and Baklava – a sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and held together with syrup," he said.

"They both can be served along with the chocolate and Arabic coffee,” he said.

Updated: June 4, 2019 12:19 PM

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