The Civil Service Bureau announced that all ministries, government agencies and public institutions will be off on June 4, 5 and 6, 2019 on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr. (Eid may be either on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.) The holiday is a welcome and much needed break and provides some an ideal opportunity to travel abroad or stay in the country and follow the events of the hour, especially the fiery political ones. The phenomenon of traveling on such occasions and holidays is a relatively new one. Earlier, we didn’t travel for such short periods, but now tourism around the region is possible and we all enjoy a short break when we can get it.
The offices of travel and tourism companies in the country are busy as families flock to travel agencies to book holiday trips. While many travelers go to travel agencies for reservations because they are less expensive than self-booking, others browse social networking sites to find the most suitable prices and for travel planning.
Clearly, travel agencies compete to offer the best deals to various destinations to regional countries like Lebanon, Oman, UAE and Turkey. Some prefer to travel to Europe and the UK, taking an extra few days or starting their summer breaks along with Eid. I have been a frequent traveler in recent years, and have found that a comparison of the prices of food, drink and entertainment in Europe, especially when comparing the euro with counterparts in countries in Asia – for example like a week in Thailand is much cheaper than on the shores of the Mediterranean.
I think Eid Al-Fitr has a special impact on the soul and everyone is waiting to renew and reaffirm their familial and social relations. But the rapid pace of life and the ease with which we can travel frequently and far encourages a less traditional celebration and more travel abroad. For many fasting Muslims, the Eid prayer is a joyful ritual, especially when shared with family and gatherings afterwards.
To all citizens and expats, I wish a happy holiday!
By Muna Alfuzai