Long-standing Eid traditions waning for some

Family visits and sending greeting cards have become a thing of the past for younger generation

Dubai: Most people can recount the days when they used to go from door to door greeting all their relatives on the occasion of Eid.

Children would accompany their parents as they visited relatives, or help them decorate greeting cards that would be sent to friends and family far away.

Soheir Al Goueri, a Libyan biology teacher at Ittihad National Private School in Abu Dhabi, recalls how she used to visit all her family members to greet them for Eid. “We’d always visit our family members and wish them a happy Eid. We’d go to every relative’s house, because it was a tradition that we followed as a family. Everyone in our neighbourhood used to do the same as well.”

When she lived in Jordan, Ahlam Abu Alrub, an Abu Dhabi resident, says greeting one’s family on Eid was always very special.

She would join her parents as they made their way to the elderly members of the family and wished them a blessed Eid.

“My sisters and I would go with my parents to all our old relatives and greet them for Eid. It’s a tradition to show our respect for the elders in the family and to celebrate the coming holiday. If our family lived in another country, we would send greeting cards wishing them well.”

But now the days of greeting cards and family visits have been replaced by quick WhatsApp messages and Instagram stories. Younger generations of expats who grew up away from most of their relatives find that the easiest way to greet their distant family members is through text messages.

Yara Abdul Fattah, a Jordanian student at the American University of Sharjah, usually sends out Eid greetings to her friends and social media followers by posting on her Instagram story or sending them a WhatsApp message. When it comes to her close family members, like her aunts and uncles, Abdul Fattah and her parents call each and every one of them to pass on their blessings.

For Salma Tonsy, an Egyptian student currently living in Abu Dhabi, WhatsApp makes sending Eid greetings to her family members outside the UAE so much easier. “When we used to spend Eid in Egypt, we’d visit each family member and wish them happiness on the occasion of Eid. But now we just send them a text message or give them a quick phone call.”

Lara Abouelkhair, a Palestinian student at the American University of Sharjah, echoed the traditions of Abdul Fattah and Tonsy.

“I usually use social media applications like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram to share my Eid blessings with my friends. We usually have a family gathering with my aunts and uncle who live in the UAE, and during that gathering we call or text the rest of our family members who aren’t in the country.”

Past traditions have changed, but social media and text messaging applications have allowed people to send their greetings and blessings to and connect with their families no matter where they are in the world.


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