Continuing with our #FridayFocus and Christmas around the world, I had the opportunity to catch up with Maria Kravchevskaya, Director of International Compliance Training Middle East to discuss Christmas traditions in Dubai.
"I don’t want to disappoint you but there is no real Christmas in the Middle East! The Middle East is primarily an Islamic region and Christmas is not an official public holiday. As I celebrate Christmas, I have to take days off from my annual leave.
However, the UAE and Dubai in particular are a bit different from the rest of the region, where Christmas might not be recognised at all, like Saudi Arabia, as Dubai is more oriented towards an expatriate population. Most expats in the UAE, for instance, depending on their country of origin, culture and family traditions, celebrate it. There are even churches open for those who wish to celebrate on Christmas Day.
In the UAE, the government allows businesses to put up Christmas decorations so shopping malls, shops, hotels and some other public places get beautiful Christmas trees and decorations. On the weekends some shopping malls and parks organise Christmas shows for the kids with some goodies to take away. Furthermore, almost all restaurants run festive season events such as brunch and dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Some restaurants invite singers or bands, and all serve traditional – I would say British – Christmas food: turkey, roast potatoes, sprouts and pudding. A slice of British life, miles from home!"
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