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Embracing Eid: How Pinoys in the UAE celebrate Eid al-Fitr

Excitement intensifies as Ramadan, the month-long period of fasting and reflection in Islam, nears an end. At this time, preparations for Eid al-Fitr have already begun.

Eid al-Fitr in Arabic translates to “festival of breaking the fast.” Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by coming together with family and friends for prayers, festive meals, and special gatherings. It is a time of joy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Although there have been no official announcements made yet, the Emirates Astronomy Society predicts that the first day of Eid al-Fitr in the UAE will most likely fall on April 10, 2024. 

Thus, a long break awaits residents with the anticipation that April 9-12 might be announced as holiday and will be linked to the coming weekend.

While it is a significant time for our Muslim brothers and sisters, it can also serve as a time for UAE expatriates to take a break from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives.

As expatriates in the UAE, The Filipino Times offers suggestions for celebrating Eid in 2024.


Some of the highlights of this celebration are offering prayers, celebrating with friends and family, preparing good food, and enjoying the festivities. 

In the UAE, as in many other Muslim-majority countries, the day typically begins with Eid prayers in mosques, open spaces, or at home. After the prayers, people often greet each other with the expression of “Eid Mubarak,” which means “blessed Eid.” This is then followed by a celebration at home or somewhere else.

However, these Eid celebrations are not just exclusive to Muslims. Lissa, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Dubai, said “I was invited by an Emirati friend in 2022. I felt happy that he invited me and treated me like family, even though I have a different religion than them. It showed how Eid transcends beyond religious belief.” 

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Lissa, a Dubai-based OFW

“It was an enjoyable experience and something that I would want to do again. I miss the delicious food that I ate during that day,” she added.

During Eid, Emirati delicacies like dates, luqaimat (sweet dumplings), and chebab (pancakes) are what usually welcome you to celebrations. You would also see dishes, such as beef or mutton dishes like rendang, kebabs, biryani, and curries.


Gifts are also given to friends and family members as part of the tradition. During this time, malls, shops, and bazaars are flocked with people as there are plenty of sales and promotions offered. Filipinos would sometimes wait for these Eid offers to buy pasalubong that they could give to their families in the Philippines. 

Giandell, an OFW based in Dubai, said, “Eid offers are something that I always look forward to. I’m going to visit the Philippines next month, so I am excited to buy a lot of stuff for my friends and family back home.”

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Giandell, a Dubai-based OFW


Apart from learning about the significance of Eid al-Fitr and its traditions in Islam to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the celebration; you can also celebrate by making small gestures of generosity and thanksgiving. You can do this by wearing festive clothing, following local modesty guidelines; exchanging small gifts with friends and neighbors, a common practice during Eid; and weaving Filipino traditions.


Indeed, Eid is about gathering and spending time with your family and friends. As an expat, you can also grab this chance to do a “huling hirit” during the winter season. There are lots of activities that you can choose from, like going on road trip with your family to visit Hatta or taking pictures and appreciating the view of Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah. If you’re into adventure, they also have ziplines, hiking trips, and other outdoor activities just for you.

“I got to try the world’s longest zipline at Jebel Jais and it was absolutely a mind-blowing experience! The views of the mountains, valleys, and desert were truly awe-inspiring and I can’t wait to go back there with my family!” said Alane, an OFW based in Abu Dhabi.

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Alane. an OFW based in Abu Dhabi

Filipinos also love going on desert camping, and perhaps this is a good time to do so. So pack your tents and bring along your families and friends for a memorable camping trip! 


However, not everyone can spend Eid with others, and there are people who prefer being in the comfort of the four walls of their room. Sometimes, all you need is to disconnect from social media and the outside world to reconnect with yourself. A study by the Happiness Research Institute shows that participants who took a one-week break from a specific social media platform were reported to feel happier and more satisfied. Thus, a social media break might just be the break that you need.

Amid all the festivities, Eid is also a time of reflection. You can take this time to meditate, relax, and reflect. Aside from that, you can also take this free time to clean every corner of your house, revisit old hobbies, and acquire new skills.

Indeed, there are more things that you can do during Eid that were not listed above. The decision and preparation now lie with you. Whether you’re joining in the festivities with our Muslim brothers and sisters or spending time with family, friends, or even by yourself, it’s important to remember the values of compassion, unity, and reflection that Eid embodies. Let us remember the true spirit of Eid and strive to make this celebration meaningful for ourselves and those around us.


Kate Sudiacal

Kate is a Junior Writer at The Filipino Times, where she actively covers a wide range of stories, with a special focus on the Philippines, UAE, and MENA. Her thorough daily summaries of the most significant events appear in The Filipino Times, the Middle East's leading newspaper serving Filipinos. With The Filipino Times' digital platform boasting over 4 million monthly views and nearly half a million followers across various social media channels, Kate's work reaches a wide and engaged audience. Do you have a story to share? Contact Kate at [email protected].

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