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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Worshippers to mark Eid Al Adha as UAE's leaders visit mosques across the emirates

Rulers to invite guests to majlises and palaces after morning prayers

Abu Dhabi is growing as a tourist destination faster than any other city in the Middle East, according to the Mastercard index. Christopher Pike / The National
Abu Dhabi is growing as a tourist destination faster than any other city in the Middle East, according to the Mastercard index. Christopher Pike / The National

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers across the emirates will celebrate Eid Al Adha on Friday, as Muslims mark one of the most important occasions in Islam before enjoying a long weekend with their families.

The UAE's rulers will visit mosques across the country to pray alongside the faithful before receiving well-wishers at their majlises.

At the start of one of the most important celebrations in the Islamic calendar that marks the end of the main Hajj rituals, it is traditional for families and Muslims in general to come together to exchange Eid greetings, starting with performing Eid prayers at the nearest mosque.

On Friday morning, the country’s rulers will also be performing prayers at their designated emirates.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, will pray at Sheikh Rashid Mosque in Zabeel. He will then receive well-wishers at the Zabeel Grand Majlis.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, will pray at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, before receiving Eid greetings at Al Mushrif Palace.

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After performing Eid prayers, it is recommended for financially capable Muslims to sacrifice an animal – a sheep, calf or goat, whose meat is distributed to the less fortunate. While it is recommended that the owner of the sacrifice is present during the slaughtering of the animal, many Muslims assign other people to slaughter on their behalf, especially those who wish to sacrifice in other countries which are considered more in need.

Shayma Zyadneh, an expat from Jordan, said she will be going with her husband and three-year-old daughter to the Grand Mosque for Eid prayers.

“We will take sweets with us to give out to the children once the prayers are over," she said.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2017:    An Emirati man walks towards the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque as the sun sets ahead of Eid al-Adha in Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2017. Eid al-Adha, or the, Feast of the Sacrifice, honors the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismaeel, as an act of obedience to God's command. Christopher Pike / The National

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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2017: An Emirati man walks towards the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque as the sun sets ahead of Eid al-Adha in Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2017. Eid al-Adha, or the, Feast of the Sacrifice, honors the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismaeel, as an act of obedience to God's command. Christopher Pike / The National Reporter: N/A Section: News

She used to do this with her family back home. All the neighbours would meet at the nearby mosque and then they would all walk behind the Imam to the designated Eid prayers area.

“After we finished praying, we gave small plastic bags of sweets to the children so they will be motivated to go to Eid prayers everytime,” said the 29-year-old.

“Also after we finished praying we all had to greet one another, even people we did not know.”

Afterwards she will be going with her husband to sacrifice a sheep.

“I decided to join him because I did this one before in Jordan and I would like to try it here," she said.

“You choose the sheep, and then you rent a porter to carry it to the slaughter. Then you follow your sheep step by step.”

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Once the sheep is slaughtered, one moves to remove it from its fur.

“After taking out its guts, you take them to a vet on site.

“Then you take it to a vet on site and he checks if they are good or not, and you decide whether you want to donate them or take them home.”

The sheep itself is cut into four big parts which are weighed, and then cut into smaller pieces for distribution purposes.

Later during the day, like most Muslims, they will be visiting their relatives.

“And on the second day my husband’s cousins will visit us from Dubai,” she added.

“I prepared Eid chocolates, cookies and decorated the dessert table with Eid props and toys.”

Other expats will use the long weekend to enjoy the outdoors - at hot as it is.

Rawan Fawaz, a 27-year-old from Palestine, said she and her family will go to Yas Waterworld and Yas Mall..

“It's something to make the children happy,” said the mother of three boys.

“I am also buying Eid cookies for the house, even though we won’t be receiving any visitors, but just to make them used to Eid traditions.”

A highlight, she said, will be witnessing her family as they sacrifice a sheep in Gaza live on Skype.

“This will bring back Eid memories, I used to watch the process from my balcony in Gaza,” she added.

Ahmad Fathy, a 33-year-old Egyptian, said he prefers to spend Eid with his family and in-laws at home.

“Wherever we go it will be extremely crowded and we won’t enjoy our time,” he said.

“So we exchange house visits with relatives.”

He tried to sacrifice a goat for Eid in the UAE, but found it was too expensive.

“There was an announcement that the sacrifice will range between Dh500 and Dh2,800, but I went around to ask butchers, they laughed at me,” he said.

“So instead I did the e-sacrifice, you buy a token for Dh300 and they do it for you,” he added.