The cost of last New Year’s Eve celebration in Dubai was $6 million. This year according to Anadolu Agency half a billion was spent on the celebration. Foreigners’ population in the United Arab Emirates exceeds 70%, considering this statistic it warms my heart to see my country be this welcoming and generous toward our expat residents. There are two other reasons behind the stunning fireworks display. One, is to break the Guinness World Record second year in a row; which they successfully did. Second, was to generate more tourists, Colonel Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, head of the Event Security Committee and deputy director of the Department of Protective Security, said, “We are expecting around 1.5 million residents and tourists at Shaikh Mohammed Boulevard, The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa to watch the fireworks at Burj Khalifa and seven other venues.”
That being said, I have to point out the sense of disappointment I felt that no celebration of this magnitude was ever done to celebrate our religion holidays. I have been struggling whether I should voice my opinion about this topic. Does it make me less patriotic? I pray not. You can love a person but still disagree with some of their choices and the same goes to a country.
From my religion aspect, Islam allows other religions to celebrate their holidays in an Islamic country but Muslims shouldn’t part take. Now to most people (Muslims or non) this may sound like an extremist, conservative and ‘why we seem too scary to other people’ point of view. However, if you take London or New York as an example, there are no Islamic holiday’s celebrations. The reason why maybe some Muslims don’t agree is because I don’t think they realize New Year is the celebration of the early life of Jesus: the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; the Feast of the Circumcision; and the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.
As I mentioned above, we do have our holidays. Why not celebrate our religion and attract the rest of the world to how beautiful it is? it can be done when it’s announced that the next day is Eid Al-Fitr(that celebrates the end of Ramadan a holy month of fasting ) , it can be in Eid el-Adha ( which tributes the obedience of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) submitting to God’s will, before God through Jibra’il (Gabriel) discloses his sacrifice has previously been accepted.) or in the Hijri New Year (it’s called Hijri because of the emigration of prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina) also known as Islamic New Year.
The other reason was the amount spent to celebrate the New Year. Religiously wasting this much money is frowned upon when there are this much poverty and illnesses worldwide. Half a billion was spent for few minutes of joy for not more than 10 minutes. I couldn’t help but wonder what Syrian, Palestinian, African people thought of us if they ever heard. I wouldn’t be able to look them in the eye. I am no saint, I enjoy celebration. I just believe there should be a limit to how much we spend and consideration to the less fortunate. I wish in every coming holiday we spend less on fireworks and more competing on who donated more money and aid to counties in need. What a better world that would be.Less looking up and more looking down.
Love and peace to all.