Saudis divided between electronic, traditional Eidiya

Young children will receive Eidiyas in cash since they cannot use devices. (File photo)
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Updated 14 May 2021

Saudis divided between electronic, traditional Eidiya

  • Due to the ongoing pandemic, many Saudis turn to electronic payments to give out Eidiyas this year as opposed to cash in hand

JEDDAH: As Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid Al-Fitr in their own unique ways, children in every nation tend to always steal the spotlight with their tireless demands for Eidiya money.

Similar to Halloween in the west, children wait eagerly for this time of the year so they can dress up, visit one household to the next, and receive as much Eidiya money (and chocolates) as possible.

However, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many Saudis turned to electronic payments to give out Eidiyas this year. Still, others prefer the old-fashioned way of handing out Eidiyas in cash while also taking COVID-19 health precautions into consideration.

Saudi dentist Jameela Al-Ghamdi, 29, said being deprived of family gatherings for Eid Al-Fitr last year was frustrating. 

“It was so strange to go through,” she told Arab News. “We never skipped visiting our families on such special occasions.”

She is now relieved because people in her family susceptible to the virus have received the vaccine jab and these special occasions can happen again. 

“I am so happy to dress up with my sisters and also visit family members I have not seen in an unfairly long time,” Al-Ghamdi said.

Her family, although mostly vaccinated, prefers to give out Eidiyas electronically, as Al-Ghamdi says she is a fan of technology. 

“We tried giving out Eidiyas through STC Pay last year and it was very quick, simple and convenient. No need to break down SR100 at minimarkets anymore,” she said.

Ali Mansour, a 33-year-old Saudi industrial engineer at Saudia airline, said the best part of Eid is visiting family. He also added the occasion is not the same without gatherings. Mansour’s family started giving out Eidiyas electronically long before the pandemic because of its convenience.

HIGHLIGHTS

•Similar to Halloween in the west, children wait eagerly for this time of the year so they can dress up, visit one household to the next, and receive as much Eidiya money (and chocolates) as possible. •However, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many Saudis turned to electronic payments to give out Eidiyas this year. Still, others prefer the old-fashioned way of handing out Eidiyas in cash while also taking COVID-19 health precautions into consideration.

“Way before the pandemic and the creations of such platforms like STC Pay, we gave out Eidiyas through bank transfers,” he told Arab News. “Electronic payments are not something new to us. My dad would always transfer the Eidiya into my account, never in cash.” He added that the last time he received Eidiya in cash was probably back in high school.

Young children are the most significant part of the Eid celebration, said Mansour, as they will receive Eidiyas in cash since they cannot use devices.

Saudi Lujain Al-Jehani, 27, said Eid Al-Fitr is extra special this year because people were deprived of the holiday gatherings last year.

“Due to the pandemic, we did not have the opportunity to celebrate together,” she told Arab News. “We are so excited and thrilled. We are going to prepare cakes and activities that we were deprived of last year.”

Al-Jehani’s family prefers to give out Eidiyas in person: “The experience is different, holding cash in your hand,” she said.

Al-Jehani added that most of the elderly in her family do not know how to use electronic payment platforms.

Saudi medical student Renad Bajodah, 25, said Eid celebrations are important experiences and will have a lasting impact on a child’s memory.

“Eid means joy to me. It means coming together and honoring the days of our lives, and celebrating after the completion of the holy month of Ramadan,” Bajodah told Arab News. 

“The excitement of Eid’s eve is what is most beautiful to me, seeing kids wearing their new pajamas all happy on the night of Eid. It also teaches parents how to give to their children. To give them the best experience and beautiful childhood memories.” 

While Bajodah’s family still prefers Eidiyas in cash, they sanitize them thoroughly before delivering in carefully closed envelopes. They like the “traditional old school style,” he said.

Saudi Yara Ahmad, 27, who works in the market research industry, said Eid Al-Fitr means a lot to her. The whole experience from new clothes, delicious food and candy, family gatherings and Eidiya money is something adults and children alike look forward to every year.

Electronic Eidiya did not bode well for her family which continues to distribute cash to children while keeping in mind the sanitization part and necessary precautions.

Saudi Salman Al-Otaibi, 32, who prefers the old-fashioned way of giving out Eidiyas while following hygienic measures, said a new voting poll for Eidiyas that has been circulating a week before Eid Al-Fitr takes away a special element.

“The idea has nothing to do with the purpose of Eidiyas and bringing a smile on children and adults’ faces,” he told Arab News. 

“Because it has become a contest and everyone is running after people in groups and social media sites to vote. I think it is far from what Eidiya is supposed to mean.”


Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

NEW YORK: Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN in New York, congratulated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on securing a second term.

Al-Mouallimi expressed the aspiration of the Saudi mission to continue working with the secretary-general in promoting peace and security around the world as well as ensuring the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Meanwhile, Al-Mouallimi chaired the virtual meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Contact Group with the UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener.

The meeting tackled the latest political developments in Myanmar and the humanitarian situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Updated 19 June 2021

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Abdulrahman Al-Arifi is deputy director general for research and consultation at the Institute of Public Administration (IPA).

In 2001, he received a master’s degree in computer science from the University of New Orleans, US. In 2012, he obtained a Ph.D. in information systems from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. His doctoral thesis was nominated for the QUT outstanding doctoral thesis award in 2015.

Al-Arifi joined IPA as a faculty member in 1996. Some of his main responsibilities are to oversee, evaluate and innovate IPA research and consultancy services that are provided to the public and private sectors.

He is chair of the scientific council and the supervisor general of the editorial board of the Public Administration Journal, which oversees IPA’s academic activities. He has also served as both member and consultant in many government committees.

Before his appointment, Al-Arifi served as IT director general, where he was responsible for overseeing and monitoring the execution of projects in the four departments of applications, operations, customer services and information security.

Through his research activities, he leads and assists in the production of authentic and in-depth studies that analyze and address administrative issues. He also supervises consultation activities and assists in providing professional consultations based on modern scientific methodologies.

Al-Arifi, a certified ITIL V3, has won several awards for his research. In 2015, he was recognized by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Australia for his academic performance.


Saudi Hajj ministry warns against using fake registration links

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Hajj ministry warns against using fake registration links

  • More than 500,000 people have applied to perform the Hajj this year so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has warned citizens and residents against dealing with bogus Hajj companies that are not listed on the online portal for pilgrims.
The ministry also urged all citizens and residents to be wary of unlicensed adverts on social media that do not have official endorsement.
It advised people to report any agency, company or link claiming to provide permits or services to pilgrims for Hajj 2021 outside the framework of the portal.
Deputy Hajj minister Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat said that pilgrims should only book the services of Hajj companies and institutions through the authorized online registration portal for pilgrims.
More than 500,000 people have applied to perform the Hajj this year so far.

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Saudi Arabia's air defenses destroy 17 Houthi drones targeting the Kingdom from Yemen

Updated 58 min 28 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's air defenses destroy 17 Houthi drones targeting the Kingdom from Yemen

  • Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom
  • The militia once again face international condemnation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses destroyed 17 Houthi drones launched toward the Kingdom’s southern region on Saturday.
A booby-trapped drone targeted Khamis Mushait early morning before seven more targeting the southern region were intercepted in Yemeni airspace during the afternoon.
Khamis Mushait was again targeted by two drones in the evening.

Another drone targeted Najran late evening before six more were shot down near midnight.
The Houthi militia’s deliberate and systematic escalation against Yemenis constitutes a war crime, the coalition said, adding that it was taking measures to protect civilians from hostile attacks.
The Iran-backed Houthis have been attacking the Kingdom with explosives-laden drones on an almost daily basis in recent weeks despite US, UN and Saudi calls for a ceasefire in Yemen.

They again faced international condemnation on Saturday for the latest round of attacks.

Kuwait said it supported all the measures taken by Saudi Arabia to maintain its security and stability. Bahrain praised the vigilance of the coalition forces to intercept and destroy the drones.

The UAE condemned the militia for "systematically targeting civilians," while Jordan said any threat to the security of Saudi Arabia was a threat to the entire region.

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Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 454,404
  • A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 13 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,153 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 335 were recorded in Makkah, 266 in Riyadh, 148 in the Eastern Province, 119 in Asir, 84 in Jazan, 63 in Madinah, 27 in Najran, 23 in Tabuk, 17 in Hail, 12 in Al-Baha, 10 in the Northern Borders region, and four in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 454,404 after 1,145 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 16.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.