Celebrating Christmas in Dubai

UAE is a Muslim country but then Dubai and the rest of its Emirates are open cities. Almost 60% of its workforce depends on expatriates coming from different countries that have different cultures and religions living peacefully and harmoniously in the land of oil and sand. 

Muslims celebrate Eid, Hindus celebrate Diwali, and Christians and Catholics celebrate Christmas freely in their own way and it is respected completely.

To celebrate Christmas in UAE is totally different from celebrating Christmas in the Philippines in the sense that only those Catholic or Christian populations celebrate it and not as a whole country.

Dubai is a friendly place to celebrate Christmas and the government of UAE has nothing against it. For the last seven years that I have celebrated it here, it is nothing different in the Philippines.

When we came to Dubai, we carry our culture with us. After the 
Eid Al Adha celebration of our Muslim brothers, it became a family tradition to decorate our house or our room with Christmas ornaments that we have been keeping for the last nine months. Like in the Philippines, we also observe the longest Christmas preparation and celebration here in Dubai. As the time draws near, we also plan how we will celebrate it, what food should be on our dinner table on Christmas Eve, of course, it will never be complete without all traditional Filipino dishes, and what gift to be wrapped in fancy papers for our dear friends and loved ones, buy new clothes to wear on that very special occasion dedicated especially in commemorating the birth of our Savior, and also plan for parties with friends and officemates where some are also having their "monito monita" for fun. Write letters to Santa and complete our wish list.

There are also several Catholic Churches in UAE like Saint Mary's Church and Saint Francis of Assisi in Dubai and Saint Michaels Church in Sharjah where one can attend and complete "Simbang Gabi". Inside the church premises, traditional "puto bumbong" and "bibingka" are also being sold by the Filipino community so one can also enjoy these native sweets after the mass.

On Christmas day, we also visit relatives if there are any and friends for those who are bachelors, this year since Christmas falls on a Friday so it is the best time to visit them since we are off from work.

You see there is not much difference in celebrating Christmas in UAE from my own perspective. Even in a foreign land like this, I can still celebrate it the most traditional Filipino way I know and I am doing it to inculcate it in my daughter's mind that we Filipinos have our own way of celebrating Christmas and I want her to know deep in her heart what is the meaning and purpose of all this celebration. We must not forget one thing, Christmas beyond all the lights and celebration is the time of giving and showing our love for one another. It is the time of forgiving, after all, it is the main reason why Jesus was born.

Home Decor for Christmas

Now, I want you to take a peek at our humble room that my family and I dutifully decorated with Christmas ornaments and a very special tree. This is our Christmas tree. It's the second year we have had this. The very first fir tree we had was sent to my mom in the Philippines so she can use it at home. We bought it from Dragon Mart for AED 150. The red and gold ornaments are from Ace Hardware and some are courtesy of Marks and Spencer when my sister is working there here in Dubai.
These are snowflakes made of cutout paper. I made it myself with the help of Lanna then we stick it at the glass door on the way out of our terrace. I just wanted to have a feel of snow at home.

This is the holy leaf that I also made myself. Who says it has to be expensive, one just has to play with the imagination and voila, I have this wonderful ornament for my altar. Isn't it wonderful?

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.


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  1. That's nice. I am celebrating my first Christmas in UAE. I had to buy a tree also in order to feel more the Christmas spirit.

  2. Kakainggit naman ang mga decors.

    May Christmas tree din kami dito sa Saudi and my flatmate daintily decorated it with figurines. Cute.

    Maligayang Pasko sa iyo at sa iyong pamilya.

  3. Merry Blessed Christmas to you Yellow Bells and your family. Have a great holiday ahead! Cheers! From the Kingdom of Khobar city , Saudi........

  4. how creative! your tree looks really nice ;-)

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