Yemeni people enjoy leisure time near the beach of Buraiga in the southern port city of Aden, Yemen, on June 4, 2019. Thousands of Yemeni people headed on Tuesday to the beaches in the southern port city of Aden to celebrate the first day of Eid al-Fitr, one of the biggest religious festivals for the Muslims. (Xinhua/Murad Abdo)
by Murad Abdo
ADEN, Yemen, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Yemeni people headed on Tuesday to the beaches in the southern port city of Aden to celebrate the first day of Eid al-Fitr, one of the biggest religious festivals for the Muslims.
The Yemenis from different provinces of the war-torn Arab country arrived in Aden to enjoy Eid al-Fitr festivities that mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Despite the ongoing military conflict and deepening political divisions, the Yemeni people attempted to exploit the three-day Eid holiday as an opportunity to forgive each other and forget woes of the years-long civil war.
Zain Ali, a 25-year-old citizen from Taiz Province, told Xinhua that Aden turned to be a safe haven for all Yemeni families fleeing the war-ravaged areas across the country.
"Like me, many families came from other provinces to spend Eid al-Fitr holiday on Aden's beaches," said Zain.
"Aden is the only remaining place to enjoy Eid al-Fitr away from the griefs caused by the ongoing war," he added.
Other Yemeni citizens agreed that the security situation in Aden had witnessed a remarkable improvement, as thousands of people are sitting together with their relatives safely on the beaches of Buraiga and elsewhere in the city without fears of armed attacks.
"I brought all my children to this beach because the situation is totally different from that in the past years," said Ayham Hamed, an Aden-based citizen.
"Basic services including electricity and water improved in Aden and we feel so happy on this Eid," he added.
Many workers also stopped their activities and businesses, and headed along with their families to the beaches to enjoy Eid al-Fitr.
"Today, there's no work because I decided to enjoy Eid al-Fitr festivities with my friends here," said Mohsen Gamal, a young boy working as a waiter in a restaurant in Aden.
On Monday, Yemenis were deeply divided on what is the first day of Eid al-Fitr festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan for the first time in the history of the war-torn Arab country.
In the city of Aden, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government declared June 4 as the first day of Eid al-Fitr, while the Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa and other northern provinces, declared that June 5 will be the first day of this festival.
Local activists said the Houthis wanted to challenge the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in moonsighting, indicating religious beliefs are being involved in the deepening political divisions in Yemen.
The neighboring Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, all celebrated Eid al-Fitr on June 4.
Yemen has been plagued by a civil war since late 2014 after Houthi rebels revolted against the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The rebels advanced from their far northern stronghold of Saada Province toward the south, and seized control of much of the country's north including the capital Sanaa, thus triggering the civil war.