RIYADH: The Eid Al-Fitr celebrations concluded on Tuesday night in Riyadh, with citizens and residents calling it one of the most successful with a series of enjoyable fares on offer.
Hotels and rest houses in the capital did brisk business during the holidays, with sales and marketing personnel of these establishments claiming a “houseful” with 100 percent bookings during the Eid days.
The fireworks proved a big hit on the three-day long Eid celebrations. The participation of expatriates from a whole host of countries including China, Canada, Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan, Syria and Sudan constituted a spectacular celebration on the occasion.
The expatriates presented their own programs alongside local events to entertain residents. The Chinese acrobats and Canadians have taken the attraction of the audiences for their dazzling performance.
A group of Filipino photographers of Ultra Media International Foundation made their best shots of the fireworks, some of which were exclusively given to Arab News.
With citizens and residents driving to these various points of celebrations and also visiting family and friends on the happy occasion, traffic in different parts of the city was heavy, apparently because of ongoing road expansion projects taking place in the capital. But there were no major traffic holdups.
The majority of the city witnessed the fireworks at Prince Sultan University along King Abdullah Road, one of seven areas specified. There were equal numbers of foreigners and Saudis with the majority of families preferring to watch the light show in the sky from the date trees that surround the university.
People who came late found it difficult to find a place to park their cars, and some had to walk long distances to join the celebrations. Some families opted to watch from their vehicles while on the road.
Indian Suhail Iqbal, who had brought his family, had to walk a distance.
“I was a bit late and had to park my car far from the university,” Iqbal said, adding, “As my children insisted on watching the fireworks from close we had to walk a distance. But it was worth it.”
Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Malaz offered a fireworks display and laser light show Sunday night. One hour before the program started at 9:15 p.m. people filled the stadium. Traffic police closed roads around the sports complex.
Sayed Zarief Sattar, an accountant from Pakistan, traveled with children all the way from his home located at Exit Six to Malaz to see the fireworks.
“I have been coming here every year for the past five years with my children to watch the fireworks, and every year it just gets better,” Sattar said. “My kids enjoy seeing the sky being lit up.”
A group of Filipinos was there already. Edmond Frank said they had a detailed program and that really helped them to decide when and where to go.
The celebration was opened officially by Acting Governor of Riyadh Prince Mohammad bin Saad bin Abdulaziz at Qasr Al-Hukm, along with some princes and officials, where he watched the performers of Saudi traditional sword dance. There were several Saudi teams participating in the show that represented different regions of the Kingdom.
The celebrations were organized by the High Commission for Riyadh Development with various Saudi firms. This year, Eid coincided with the school vacation, enabling many men, women and children to celebrate the festive occasion with their families. As a result, Riyadh hotels and managements of furnished accommodation witnessed high room occupancies.
Elsewhere, Monday’s activities at King Abdul Aziz Historical Center, which also houses the Saudi National Museum, were attended by a large number of expatriates, including many Westerners. Foreigners living in Riyadh have been enjoying the traditional festivities in the capital while participating in the three-day Eid Al-Fitr celebration.
Some families opted to spend their Eid celebration at a park, such as Salam Park, which attracted thousands of visitors on the first day of Eid.
Visitors are particularly attracted to the large central boating and fishing lake and the profusion of lush grass and trees.
“With its green landscaping and artificial lake with colorful boats, this park reminds me of Qanateer Park in Cairo,” said Fathi Bayoumi, a visitor from Egypt who was camping out for the day with his family.
“I had to come early to secure a parking space and to claim a good corner in the park for my family, where I can enjoy the Eid cuisine, fresh air from the lake and soothing breeze from the park trees,” he said.
“The park even offers the Eid visitors the opportunity for fishing,” said Rashid Saad Al-Mehaizi, the park project manager, who was in hand to help the crowds.
Al-Mehaizi said about 10,000 visitors came to visit the park Friday.
“We are providing satisfactory services in terms of cleanliness and healthy environment,” said the park official, adding that entry for the elderly and the disabled was free. “We also provide fishing equipment in the park as part of the entertainment program.”