From chocolate egg hunts to scuba-diving Easter bunnies, here’s how to mark the spring celebration in Dubai.
Easter is marked on Sunday April 20 this year, and it’s a time for jubilation and the ushering-in the start of spring and new life. A tradition celebrated in many ways around the world, and not only by Christians (after all, who can resist a chocolate egg?), we take a look at where you can hunt down the Easter Bunny in our very own city, and how the event is celebrated around the world.
The Arabian restaurant Ewaan turns into an Easter egg hunting ground on Saturday April 19, where the little ones can search for hidden treasures in The Palace garden and also take part in an egg-painting competition.
Dhs220 for adults, including soft drinks, Dhs120 for children aged two-six. 2.30pm-5.30pm. The Palace, Downtown Dubai, www.theaddress.com (04 888 344).
Why not celebrate with Dubai’s Goan community at their annual Easter Ball on Friday April 25. Get dressed up and enjoy Goan food and hospitality. The event is open to the entire community and there will be music from Fusion Again and DJ Keith.
Dhs125 for adults, Dhs60 for kids. 8pm. Al Masah Ballroom, Sheraton Deira Hotel, Deira, www.facebook.com/goancommunitydubai (050 764 6088).
The Easter bunny will be popping up all over the city and this year, you can have your picture taken with him in the lobby of Atlantis, The Palm. But he doesn’t just visit kids – you’ll also see him dive among 65,000 marine animals in the Ambassador Lagoon.
Free for hotel guests, Dhs40 for non-guests (including Dhs10 entry to Poseidon Café). Photos 10am-noon, scuba diving 1pm-1.30pm. Thu April 17-Sun April 20. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah. www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 1387).
A special brunch
Easter is a time for families to get together, so why not enjoy an Easter brunch and feast on an international buffet from India, Asia, Italy, and Arabia at the Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate. The dessert room at the Moroccan-style venue will be filled with plenty of chocolates and children can join the bunny for an egg hunt and get into the spirit of Easter while they get their faces painted.
Dhs495 bubbly, Dhs395 house beverages, Dhs295 soft drinks. Children under six eat free. Fri April 18-Sun April 20. Al Bahou, Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate, www.moevenpick-hotels.com (04 444 5613).
Children under eight and their parents can join in The Dubai Irish Society’s egg hunt on Saturday April 19. There will be egg-decorating events and certificates will be presented for best decorated egg and the most ‘Irish’-style egg, so get creative. Register your children to attend by emailing admin@irish- societydubai.com.
Dhs20 per family. 9am-11am. Little Land Nursery, Jumeirah, www.irishsocietydubai.com.
Easter golf challenge
Golfers can look out for chocolate eggs at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s Golf Academy while playing in a golf tournament. The Easter Par 3 challenge on Saturday April 19 is played on the nine-hole course, with each team comprising of one adult and child (aged 15 years and below). The tournament is followed by a buffet. Places are limited, register online to take part.
Dhs130 per adult. Dhs115 per child. Golf is at 3.15pm and 5pm. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira, www.dubaigolf.com (04 205 4666)
Other celebrations around the world
German households decorate their homes with hand-painted eggs that are then hung on twigs to create an Easter tree. In Bavaria, Southeast Germany, towns are decorated in ribbons and local people make an Easter Lamb Cake – a lamb-shaped sponge with honey and hazelnuts.
Traditions here are a mix of religious and folkloric heritage and Easter is also related to a celebration of the arrival of spring, and so colourful Easter chocolate eggs are exchanged. Hot cross buns are also part of a British celebration – these are teacakes made with raisins that are decorated or scored with a cross.
New York holds an annual Easter bonnet parade, a tradition dating back to the mid-1800s, when the upper crust of society would walk around town showing off their fancy new hats on Easter Sunday. The Easter bunny forms a major part of the festival’s traditions in America, brought here from the early Dutch German settlers who told stories of the bunny delivering eggs to children.
In Haux in Nantes, the town gets together to make one enormous omelette, using up to 4,500 eggs, which are used to create a dish that feeds 1,000 people.
In Goa, street plays and colourful carnivals are a big part of the festivities. People bake or buy Easter cakes for their loved ones, and exchange colourful lanterns.
Over on the island of Corfu, you’ll need to mind your head – it’s traditional here for people to throw clay pots out of their windows on Easter Saturday.