Eid al-Adha doesn't have to be all sheep and awkward family dinners, spend it underwater this year!

Published September 23rd, 2014 - 08:48 GMT

Chubby sheep and goats grazing highway pastures are a sure sign that Eid al-Adha - the Feast of the Sacrifice - is just around the corner. Expected this year during the first week of October, it’s an important Islamic holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to heed God’s command and sacrifice his first-born son. (You know how that went down - God jumped in with a last-minute substitution - a hapless ram took the hit for young Ishmael, who enjoyed a long life writ large in the Qur’an and the Torah and the Bible.)

Animal sacrifice and familial feasting continue to mark the holiday (happening this year on October 4th). But what if you’re not a fan of competitive eating? Maybe you’re a bit of a maverick looking to escape another drawn out family outing? Maybe you just need a break.

Could be tough going if you haven’t yet mapped your escape; the usual haunts are overbooked and everything is overpriced. But late planning doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun on the Feast of the Sacrifice! Think outside the hackneyed holiday box. Consider staying in the region. But for those of us locals, who’ve crisped in Corniche sunshine, camped with the Bedouin, and climbed the million steps a billion times to Petra’s Monastery - how to make a Middle East holiday more exciting? Just add water!

It’s counter-intuitive that sandy Middle East nations also offer brilliant submarine paradises. But just look at the coastlines of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel rimming the Northern Red Sea (considered by CEDAM International as one of the seven Underwater Wonders of the World). Or spin the globe to the southern shores of the Mediterranean - Morocco and Egypt enjoy the same climate that floats boats in Cannes and Athens.

So skip the swank of the Emirates, shelve Cyprus and turn away from Turkey. (You probably can’t get decently priced flights there anyway). This Eid, grab your more adventurous mates, try a hostel or low-cost watersports hotel, sidestep overcrowded beaches, and dive into the splendors of our local seas.

Check out these wet and wild holiday destinations!

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