x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE shoppers splash out for Eid

The rush is on for gifts as Eid Al Fitr approaches, with traditional presents such as sweets and perfume still popular.

Shops throughout the country, such as the Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi, have reported a rush for Eid presents with sweets proving popular - though many shoppers said they would give children money. Photos Ravindranath K / The National
Shops throughout the country, such as the Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi, have reported a rush for Eid presents with sweets proving popular - though many shoppers said they would give children money. Photos Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // As the Eid Al FItr holiday fast approaches, sweets and money are proving popular gifts.

Shoppers have been flocking to the nation's malls to pick out gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Sweets are a perennial favourite that are proving as popular this year as during previous Eids.

Many customers have been buying in bulk, said Nora Escriu, a manager at a branch of the French confectionery chain, La Cure Gourmande.

"People have been buying huge baskets of our sweets," she said. "The most popular are butter biscuits filled with chocolate and hazelnut cream. The toffee is another one of our best sellers, along with fine chocolate from France.

"Customers have been buying baskets and trays of all kinds. They are happy and so are we," she said.

Many shoppers said they would be giving money to their loved ones, especially young people.

"We'll be spending Eid with friends in Abu Dhabi," said Wahida Rahman, who was shopping at Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi with her three children.

"My children will be getting money as usual and taken around Kidzone or Toys R Us to get something new and spend it. This happens every year and they seem to like it.

"We sometimes try to go away somewhere for the holiday but all the hotels we tried have been booked."

Emirati Abu Hamdan, a father of four, and his wife were also buying Eid gifts for their family.

"We will maybe take the family away and treat the children - they can go to an amusement park and enjoy the holiday," he said.

Asked what she was hoping to receive, his 12-year-old daughter replied "money".

Mr Hamdan said older relatives often desired something a little more sophisticated.

"Like watches, wallets and accessories," he said. "For women there is a wide range of gifts, sometimes gold, a lot of accessories and often quite fancy at this time of year.

"Women often buy local dress and garments, along with accessories like shoes and gifts."

Gift wish lists may differ but most people share a desire to spend time with friends and family.

"A lot of the time we are too busy to sit down with family, busy with work or studying. But this is an occasion, especially on the first and second day of Eid, when we sit together with family," Mr Hamdan said. "We meet our uncles, mother and father, cousins.

"This is something we are trying to teach our children about also, that this is important to always be with family and make sure they have family values."

Another shopper, Bandar Al Zaabi, said he usually gave money to children and that "most locals do this".

"Sweets are very popular also, at every house there will be sweets that people will share when they visit each other," he said.

Mr Al Zaabi said Eid was a time for giving rather than receiving.

"I do not receive anything, I just enjoy to give to family and friends," he said.

Other traditional gifts proving popular included oud and other perfume.

"Perfume and jewellery often sell well at this time of year," said Hamid Ali, a manger at Dubai Gallery in Abu Dhabi's Al Wahda Mall.

"Before Eid we see a lot more sales, most Muslims like to buy something new for each other. Our perfumes are extremely popular among our customers."

Even so, said Mr Ali, sweets were something that everyone bought every year.

"All people I know will buy sweets, at Eid, this always happens."

ksinclair@thenational.ae