We look at how people marked Eid Al Adha
By Shoshana Kedem More than 150 students were treated to their first taste of Eid Al Adha in the UAE as they enjoyed traditional food and learned about of one of the holiest days in Islam yesterday.
The students, from 40 countries around the world, visited the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding as millions of Muslims spent the day with their families.
Also known as the feast of sacrifice, Eid Al Adha commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as a sign of devotion to Allah.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, were among those to attend dawn prayer, before meeting wish-wishers at Zabeel Palace.
At the cultural centre, students were treated to traditional Emirati cuisine and tea before asking questions about the religion followed by more than a billion people. Many have just arrived in Dubai to start their studies at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. “It was like nothing I have experienced before,” said Austin Su Hung Li, a 20-year-old student from Taiwan.
“It was amazing to get in touch with a country I have never had any contact with before.”
After the feast, the floor opened for questions about Emirati traditions, dress, religion, taking up to four wives, worship and misconceptions.
Asked what he found most interesting about Emirati culture, George Osunde, a 25-year-old University of Georgia student, said “how simple their beliefs are”. “I’m Christian and when I look at Islam I thought it was more complex but it’s a very simple, very peaceful religion,” he said.
Lou Ziade, 20, who had just flown in from Lyon, said the experience gave her a better understanding and it would help her avoid making any cultural “faux pas”.
Saad Ibrahim, 20, a student council member, added: “People tend to forget about Dubai’s culture and this centre gives a better understanding of how it started out from humble beginnings.”
Abdullah Serkal, director of the centre, said: “Eid is about offering to the people in need.
“It’s about unity and discipline and making sure that your neighbour is fed well. It’s about making the poor happy and making sure they have enough food and new clothes.”
PRAYER: Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan perform prayers at Zabeel Mosque