x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Prayers get celebration under way

Thousands gather for sermons and prayers, then attend events across the Emirates to celebrate Eid and begin the countdown to National Day.

A yaweela band and performers at the Dubai Mall for part of the Eid al Adha celebrations.
A yaweela band and performers at the Dubai Mall for part of the Eid al Adha celebrations.

ABU DHABI // Thousands of worshippers gathered at mosques around the country yesterday to offer prayers for the holy day of Eid al Adha, signalling the start of holiday celebrations. In shopping malls, parks and public centres, events were held to mark Eid and start the countdown to National Day on Wednesday. Many people spent the day with family and friends, and the events drew crowds both young and old.

Worshippers were reminded to set aside time for others and to assist the less privileged. At Sheikh Zayed Mosque, prayers were offered amid calls for adherence to Islamic teachings and values. Sheikh Ali al Hashimi, an adviser at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, stressed solidarity and sacrifice, themes that were echoed during sermons at the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai. Sheikh Aziz bin Farhan, the director of Da'wa and Guide Centre in Dubai, stressed in his Eid sermon that Eid al Adha "is the source of charity and donation", according to the government news agency, WAM.

Sheikh Abdullah Mohammed al Sa'di, a preacher at the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf in Fujairah, stressed that Islam has set values that govern life, and that the Eid al Adha celebration is a time for blessing. Eid entertainment in the capital focused on culture and heritage, art, sports and folklore. The Formal Park at the Corniche has been transformed into the Aayad Village for 38 days. A series of concerts started last night with the Lebanese singer Elissa. On December 2, the popular UAE singer Hussain al Jasmi will be the main attraction.

In Dubai, children got to meet Disney characters, including Cinderella and Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and enjoy a Disney Princesses stage show at Festival City. The stage show will continue until Thursday. In Sharjah, families gathered around the city for music and entertainment. Starting yesterday, visitors to the Mega Mall could have their photograph taken with characters from the animation show Freej and join a parade of simultaneous drumming for a special challenge.

The Sharjah Police Music Band play tomorrow. There will be a falcon display on National Day and a children's carnival on December 1-3. mswan@thenational.ae