(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) In a country known for its surfeit of shops, there is one obvious but untraditional way thousands celebrated Eid this time around.
Across the country, hordes of people made their way from the mosque to the mall on the first day of Eid Al Adha on Friday, slotting in visits to friends and family en route, while in Dubai the second weekend of 24-hour shopping in celebration of Eid arrived.
The emirates has come alive with Eid-related promotions and festivities, many of them housed in malls aiming to draw customers - and their wallets - in, while children arriving at Dubai Airport have been in line for the unexpected boon of a Dh1,000 shopping voucher.
Muslims and non-Muslims alike have taken advantage of the various activities on offer, from the turbo-charged shopping to family activities in parks and streets, with a liberal number of concerts and fireworks performances every night.
Friday morning started early for faithful of all nationalities, with prayers and the ritual sacrificing of animals. For many, Eid has been a time to reconnect with friends and families, as people weave around the country sharing coffee, dates and cake.
Special tents have been set up in Dubai - most in the city's malls - offering passers-by free Arabic coffee, dates and incense, in a bid to highlight the Eid spirit of giving and sharing.
This theme remained strong in the prayers of the country's rulers as they listened to messages of the power of God and peace. In his Eid sermon in Dubai, Imam Sheikh Omer Al Khatib urged the faithful to strengthen fraternity and love among each other, and stressed the importance of feeding the poor with sacrificial meat.
The remembrance of God always brings peace to human hearts, and gives every individual the power to abstain from evil thoughts, the Imam said quoting verses from Holy Quran.
But despite the charitable principles of Eid, the celebration has not been immune from those taking advantage of the resulting increase in activity. In some cases, taxi drivers more than doubled the fare in and around Abu Dhabi and to remote destinations, while the price of animals at the Sharjah cattle market suffered similar price hikes.
There has been a noticeable police presence across the country as a result of the ramped-up numbers of patrols. Despite this, traffic caused some issues on the roads, as people moved around the country, though no major traffic accidents were reported.