World her­alds the be­gin­ning of Eid Al Fitr

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - THE NA­TIONAL

The moon-sight­ing com­mit­tee an­nounced that the first day of the month of Shawwal, and there­fore the first day of Eid Al Fitr, will be Fri­day.

Ear­lier in the week, it was an­nounced that hol­i­day for pri­vate sec­tor em­ploy­ees would be Shawwal 1 and 2 and for pub­lic em­ploy­ees the first day of the hol­i­day would be Thurs­day and the last Shawwal 3, or Sun­day.

This means pri­vate-sec­tor em­ploy­ees who do not work on the week­ends will be un­likely to get any ex­tra hol­i­day.

The UAE’s moon-sight­ing com­mit­tee uses a two pronged ap­proach, first search­ing for the new moon us­ing tele­scopes and then con­firm­ing the new moon by sight­ing it with the naked eye.

The aroma of freshly-baked Eid cookies, the chant­ing of Tak­bir prayers and lively con­ver­sa­tions ex­changed over feasts tell the story of Eid Al Fitr spent among fam­ily mem­bers.

How­ever, for ex­pa­tri­ates cel­e­brat­ing in the UAE away from fam­ily, Eid is spent with the com­mu­ni­ties they have built.

Isra Keshk, a third-year busi­ness man­age­ment stu­dent at the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Shar­jah, is spend­ing her first Eid away from her home in Cairo.

“I plan to spend this Eid around a bon­fire with my friends, shar­ing laughs and deep talks, mak­ing smores and play­ing aroosty (cha­rades) and other games to­gether,” said Ms Keshk, 19. “We will be go­ing camp­ing in Al Ain or Hatta to en­joy na­ture.”

With flick­er­ing fairy lights in­ter­twined around her bed frame, a rain­bow gar­land around her dorm room ceil­ing

and musk per­fume in the air, Ms Keshk recre­ates her fam­ily Eid tra­di­tions with her friends to feel closer to home.

Course­work and midterm pa­pers that are due after her hol­i­day pre­vent Ms Keshk from en­joy­ing Eid with her fam­ily.

“My twin broth­ers sent me a voicenote yes­ter­day on What­sApp telling me please come for a day or two, play with us on Eid,” said Ms Keshk. “It pains me that I can’t be there with them but I will be too ex­hausted to study after Eid if I were to fly there.”

Ayaz Ra­madan, 24, shares the same re­minder of lone­li­ness that Eid holds for him this year.

“You’re miss­ing ev­ery­thing,” he said. “You can’t hug them (re­la­tions) through the dis­tance. But we come here for a rea­son, we want to se­cure our fu­ture so we have to be pa­tient.”

Mr Ra­madan learned how to cre­ate his own com­mu­nity away from his fam­ily in Pak­istan.

“I spend Eid with the room­mates,” he said. “We make food and spend time to­gether. The two days pass by very fast.”

Eid slipped away from Mr Ra­madan last year as he washed ve­hi­cles in car parks. He hoped that work­ing as a busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive this year would en­able him to en­joy Eid with his fam­ily, but he has to com­plete a two-year con­tract with his com­pany be­fore he is of­fered an air­line ticket home.

With a crack in his voice, he said: “Even though I don’t have many friends here I know I have Al­lah. Al­lah gives you pa­tience, if you’re pray­ing you feel that He is with you.”

Rola Zi­naty will spend her ninth Eid away from Le­banon this year. The brevity of the break and hav­ing a tight bud­get have kept her from home.

“No mat­ter how hard I try to cre­ate a joy­ful at­mos­phere for my­self, it’s still a hol­i­day that re­opens wounds and one that is hard to en­joy be­cause all I can think about is how badly I want to be with my fam­ily,” she said.

A trip home dur­ing the break to see her fam­ily would cost her be­tween Dh5,000 and Dh10,000.

Ms Zi­naty and Mr Ra­madan use so­cial me­dia and phone calls to con­nect with fam­ily.

“I in­ter­act more with my father over the phone than through text,” said Ms Zi­naty. “I need to hear his voice to find out if ev­ery­thing is okay.”

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