Local Traditions

We caught up with three Emirati personalities to chat about their Eid al-Fitr customs and celebrations

 

PEYMAN PARHAM AL AWADI
Widely recognised as cultural ambassadors for the UAE, Peyman Al Awadi and his brother Mohammed are perhaps best known for their socially responsible restaurant Wild Peeta and Peeta Planet, an award-winning food and travel series that reached 50 million TV viewers across the Middle East. 

What is your favourite aspect of Eid?
It’s being able to share the entire experience with my family; they are everything in my life. During the evening (of the last day of Ramadan), we gather at my parents’ house and stay up the entire night laughing. In the early hours of the next morning we go to the local neighbourhood mosque for Eid prayers and then we return to my parents’ house for ‘The Great Big Parham Breakfast’. 

Tell us more about the breakfast.
The entire family looks forward to it as it’s the first breakfast after 30 days of fasting. My mom cooks all the major Emirati breakfast dishes including breads baked by herself. On her breakfast table you will always find balaleet (sweet vermicelli) with salted omelette, falazee (thin whole wheat flat bread) with meshawa (anchovy sauce), chebab (sweet pancakes) with white cream cheese, nakhee (boiled chickpeas in local spices), shakshouka (scrambled eggs with tomatoes) and of course her special kadak (sweetened strong tea with evaporated milk). 

How will you celebrate Eid this year?
We will certainly visit two of my dad’s cousins’ houses right after breakfast to wish them Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid) as they are now the oldest members of our ‘Family Tribe’. After that, we will spend a few hours at home so that family can visit my parents and wish them 
Eid Mubarak

 

CHEF KHULOOD ATIQ 
As the first female UAE national chef, Khulood Atiq has worked in television, with the Jumeirah Group and is currently working with Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company, to create an Emirati cuisine cookbook, which she hopes will help raise international awareness of this highly-traditional type of food. 

What is your favourite aspect of Eid?

Spending time with my family! Eid al-Fitr is a special time of happiness and celebration after a month-long period of fasting and being with my nearest and dearest to celebrate brings me joy. 

Do you and your family have any food-focussed Eid traditions?
In my family we serve a variety of foods throughout all three days of Eid from breakfast until dinner. I like to bring the five-star experience home and prepare traditional food to serve in a modern setting. My family and friends look forward to experiencing new recipes. A very important tradition for us is to also share our cooked meals with people in need.

How will you celebrate Eid this year?
I’m looking forward to a quiet Eid at home. I will be hosting a lunchtime feast with my friends and family and we will exchange gifts with our loved ones.

 

HEBA BIN REDHA
Heba and her sister Shouq are the co-founders of Emirati Kashtas – a pioneering company that offers authentic experiences to educate visitors about the rich history, culture, traditions and food of the UAE.   

What is your favourite aspect of Eid?
Eid is all about getting together with the family, including extended members, and talking and laughing. Seeing everyone dressed in new clothes and children passing around to collect money makes it very enjoyable.

What role does food play in your Eid festivities?
The first day of Eid is about eating delicious food to mark the breaking of our fast after the Holy Month of Ramadan. From starting with a traditional breakfast, to snacks throughout the day, to the main courses of lunch and dinner, food adds flavour to our Eid celebrations.

How will you celebrate Eid this year?
Just like every year, I wake early in the morning to pray the Eid prayer. I then get dressed into new clothes and greet my parents and family. After breakfast, my elder brothers visit us with their children and we all then gather together with our extended family at our grandfather’s house for lunch until just before sunset.