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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

RAK families flock to Eid Al Adha fair for bargains

Shoppers look for budget buys as festivities get under way 

For millions of Muslims worldwide, Eid Al Adha is a time for family, friends and celebration.

And while the lavish preparations can often make Eid time consuming and expensive, residents of Ras Al Khaimah have found an ideal place to hunt for a bargain – the emirate's own fair.

“Shopping for Eid is never an easy task with all the options and different prices available in the market,” said Latifa Al Zaabi, 37, who arrived at the vast fair on Sunday to buy clothes for her two daughters.

“If I take them to the mall I need around Dh1,000 to buy them new clothes, shoes and accessories.

“But here at the fair, I found lots of good deals that saved me half the amount and I was also able to buy a new abaya for myself.

“I also bought them shoes for Dh50 each and paid less than Dh100 for accessories.”

Eid Al Adha is the second of two Islamic holidays – the first being Eid Al Fitr - and is considered the holier of the two.

The occasion commemorates God's testing of Prophet Ibrahim's faith as He commanded him to first sacrifice his son and then slaughter a goat in his place.

Ghadeer Ahmad, a 42-year-old Egyptian mother-of-three, arrived at the fair to buy two outfits for each of her children.

She said the Government’s decision in January this year to introduce VAT on goods had hit her budget.

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“The tax did affect us and our savings for both Eids,” she said. “Any extra dirhams we spend has an impact on our budget as my husband is the only one who is working and supporting the family.

“His Dh3,500 salary is barely covering our expenses, so we can’t afford to shop for Eid at the malls. Instead, we visit the fairs to find the best deals.”

Anod Al Shahi, 28, another shopper busy preparing for Eid at the fair, said she had bought four pairs of pyjamas for her five-year-old daughter for only Dh100.

“I bought her clothes for Eid from outside the country while we were on holiday but I love to visit the fair,” she said. “There’s a place for the children to play and eat while we shop and find great offers.

“Everything’s cheaper here compared to other places - the prices are almost 50 per cent less, sometimes more. I bought oud, sweets and pyjamas for my daughter.”

The RAK fair, held at the emirate’s Exhibition Centre, began on August 1 and lasts for 21 days. Thousands of shoppers are expected at the event, with more than 100 traders selling their wares.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to display our products, find new customers and make a profit,” said Sabri Al Majanini, who manages a shop selling soaps and aromatic oils.

“Renting a space here has become more expensive but we always come along to participate and share in the joy of Eid with others.”

Mariam Al Shamsi, 27, owner of a small business selling homemade oud and oils, said the fair was a great way to boost business.

“I don’t own a shop and the best way to sell my products and build customers is through participating in events like these,” she said.

“People find my prices reasonable and affordable compared to what’s offered elsewhere. My grandmother taught me how to make many scents with oud and I turned it into a profession and people really like it.

“Arabian oud perfumes and Bakhoor (a variety of incense) are part of the Eid traditions and a must-have during Eid.”

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