DUBAI – Eid Al Fitr, for Filipino Muslims, is the time to spend with their loved ones. For them, it is also the time to visit family and friends.
Filipino Muslims around the United Arab Emirates also celebrated the end of Ramadan on June 25 and 26 although they are away from their homes and families.
Eid Al Fitr is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal (tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar) during which Muslims are not permitted to fast.
As expected, some of the Filipino Muslims here cooked for their family and loved ones.
The operations manager of Rice Me Up café Daisy Calabia said that the way they celebrate the Eid Al Fitr in the Philippines and in Dubai are similar.
She said that the slight problem in the Philippines is that there’s only limited areas or mosques to pray in.
“Hirap din maghanda lalo na at karne maliban kung ikaw ang nagkatay ‘nun dahil ‘di ka sure kung kinatay yun ng halal way,” she added.
Calabia also noted that the celebration of the Eid Al Fitr in the Philippines is not that well celebrated by Muslims back home. She added that there are only few masjid back home for them to pray.
“Kung makikisaya ka sa kapwa Muslim, talagang dadayuhin mo sila dahil malalayo,” Calabia said.
She, according to her, celebrated with her Muslim friends because her family members are Christians.
As part of the celebration, she and her friends exchanged gifts and said “parang ito yung Christmas namin.”
Ann Perez of Higher College Technology in Dubai, meanwhile, celebrated the holiday with her son and two daughters by going to various attractions in the UAE.
During the two-day holiday and on Saturday, they went to Dubai Festival City’s Fabyland, IMG Worlds, and checked in to Desert Palm Polo Club in Dubai.
“Being expatriates and reverted Muslims, there is indeed a big difference in the observance of Ramadan and Eid here and back home,”
“During Eid, I have to request a Muslim family friend which is an hour travel from home to help me with the sacrifice and distribute the meat to friends and family,” she added.
Perez is glad that majority here in the UAE, regardless of culture, religion and nationality, observe Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.
“It is pacifying when you are in places surrounded by brothers and sisters who practice the same thing that you do for you will always be reminded and guided of our spiritual health and growth,” she said.
Living and working in the UAE for 10 years now, Fatima Fajardo, although living alone, found a way to better celebrate the occasion.
“Since alone lang ako dito, nagsama- sama lang kami ng mga sister in Islam ko sa isang gathering,” she said.
Fajardo said that one of her colleagues invited them to come over to their place after they attended the salatul prayer.
For her part, Noor Guiapal, co-founder of the OFW4DU30 Global Movement Inc. – Dubai Chapter, went to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the capital to pray.
Guiapal also distributed hadiya (gifts) and zakat (money) to her godchildren, niece, nephews and other family members.
As a family tradition, they also went to different places and attractions in the UAE.
She also remembered those days in the Philippines where they used to slaughter cow, goats, and chickens for food.
Guiapal jested that it’s hard in her part during Eid Al Fitr because she has a lot of godchildren.
They may be far from their loved ones in the Philippines, but they have one common denominator: they felt the spirit of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr in the region.
The most important thing about this celebration is they did the required prayers for Allah.