Pakistanis in UAE go virtual for Eid celebrations with families

Special Pakistanis in UAE go virtual for Eid celebrations with families
Pakistanis in the UAE turn to online alternatives to celebrate Eid with family members amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy: Maryam Fazal, Faisal Khan, Hena Mughees)
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Updated 24 May 2020
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Pakistanis in UAE go virtual for Eid celebrations with families

Pakistanis in UAE go virtual for Eid celebrations with families
  • Eid prayers in Dubai were held at homes as mosques remained closed
  • UAE ruler on Saturday shared a video showing him and children connecting over an Eid video call

DUBAI: The Fazals, a Dubai-based Pakistani family of three, are spending this Eid in isolation after they tested positive for the coronavirus. They are away from home, at a hotel-turned-quarantine center in Dubai, joining their relatives online to celebrate the end of the fasting month.
“Eid is not the same since we are not home … we are neither cooking traditional food nor dressing up particularly but we connected with our families virtually,” said Maryam, 27, who with her husband and one-year old son is holed up at a hotel room until they all recover from the infection.
“My brother who works at the Dubai airport got infected and since we all live together, we also caught the virus, including my one-year old son,” she told Arab News on Sunday.
Her husband and son have already overcome the disease, but she still remains COVID-19 positive.
Eid prayers in Dubai were held at homes as mosques remained closed. Parks, shopping malls and dine-ins wore a deserted look as residents follow the government’s call to observe social distancing.
On Saturday, the ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said on Twitter, “We wish you all get closer to each other (despite the distance) and remain happy, safe and healthy.”
UAE de facto ruler Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in a Twitter post on Saturday shared a video showing him and children connecting with family members over a video call. 
Hena Mughees, originally from Karachi, celebrated Eid away from her husband for the first time in eight years. The Dubai resident told Arab News that her husband was stuck in Saudi Arabia due to flight restrictions and she and her seven-year-old daughter celebrated Eid alone. “Eid was very different this time since for the first time in years we were not together.” she said.
“I did not do any specific preparations this time but tried to make it fun for my daughter so that she did not feel the absence of her father too much … we spent the day on video call with him and prayed he could join us soon.”
To keep Eid traditions alive for her child, they both dressed up, and made halwa poori and sheer khurma. She also gave her Eidi money.
Sharjah-based Faisal Khan and his family started the day by praying together with his family members in the UAE and Pakistan over a Zoom video call.
“We had home-made lunch consisting of chapli kabab, gulab jamun, biryani, nihari and sheer khurma,” Faisal’s wife, Aliya, told Arab News.
“We have spent Eid self-isolating and connecting only virtually,” she said.
Some people who saw Eid as an opportunity to take to the outdoors, quickly got back home when a heavy dust storm and rain hit the Emirates in the afternoon.