Main UAE Holidays 2023-2024
If you're thinking of moving here or planning a visit, it is essential to know about Islamic holidays in the United Arab Emirates. To learn about local culture and traditions, it's important to do some research beforehand. In addition, it is necessary to keep up with the scheduled private sector holidays so that proper planning for smaller journeys can be made. In addition, since holidays in the UAE differ according to national events, parents should understand their school's annual timetable. In addition, as a result of the holiday season, many government offices, banks, immigration departments, and currency exchanges may be closed for several days. In order to keep you up to date, we will present the list of the most important holidays and special dates in the UAE between 2024 and 2025, accompanied by a brief explanation.
Unlike the Gregorian or Julian Calendars, which follow the cycles of the Sun, the Islamic calendar is based on a lunar cycle. Instead, this system of timekeeping is based on the lunar cycle which divides the year into 12 lunar months of 29 or 30 days. In the UAE, there is an "Arab cycle" which is a 30-year cycle; 19 years contain 354 days, and the other 11 contain 355 days. This means that holidays celebrated in the United Arab Emirates are approximately 10 or 11 days earlier than those of the Gregorian calendar which has 365 or 366 days. The time of the holidays shall be determined by the Crescent Observation Committee. In the United Arab Emirates, some holidays are not days of rest. For instance, people and government employees work on reduced schedules during the holy month of Ramadan.
UAE Public Holidays 2024-2025
Local people in the United Arab Emirates also celebrate secular holidays. There are 3 festivities of great significance to everyone in the Emirates: Gregorian New Year (January 1), State Formation Day (December 2), and Accession to the Throne of Sheikh Zayed (August 6). Their dates fluctuate according to the moon cycle with respect to Islam's Holy Days. In this article, we'll take a look at the essential dates of national and international holidays for citizens and foreign nationals living in these countries.
Flag Day, November the 3rd
In the United Arab Emirates, Flag Day is celebrated every year on November 3. To celebrate this occasion, everybody places a national flag on their houses. During the proceedings, the country's anthem is sung. It marks the official inauguration of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as President of the United Arab Emirates in 2004. Although Flag Day is not a national holiday, this day should be remembered by all citizens and residents of the United Arab Emirates. In 2013, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum first suggested that a festival be held.
Commemoration Day – The 1st of December
The United Arab Emirates' latest national holiday is the UAE martyr day, which was established in 2015. It shall honour all citizens of the United Arab Emirates, both at home and abroad, who have sacrificed their lives in civil, military or humanitarian service. In Abu Dhabi, the names of all those who've fallen in service to their country are engraved on a memorial. A moment of silence is held at 11:30. Although the number of deceased Emirati military personnel is not great, it is nonetheless a day to remember their courage and dedication.
UAE National Day – The 2nd of December
With two days off on December 2 and 3, the national day of the United Arab Emirates is a major holiday in the country. It is to commemorate the date of 1971 when six emirates, namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Qaiwain, and Fujairah signed a unification agreement. Ras Al Khaimah's accession to the union took place next year. Fireworks, car races, dances, and sporting competitions are also part of the festivities. In addition to wearing the flag's colors, people often dress their homes, offices or streets in the United Arab Emirates-inspired decorations.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual purification and virtue. For believers, this time is devoted to prayer and connection with family and friends. The monthlong celebration is expected to begin after the new moon appears in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. It's over with the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The customs and traditions of the observance of Ramadan vary from country to country. Fasting from sunrise to sunset, praying, and charity are some of the universal activities.
Eid al Fitr is a global Muslim holiday celebrating the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. People dress nicely and prepare their customary delicacies for this important day. All over the United Arab Emirates, a variety of shows and dances take place. In addition, the redistribution of food and funds to charity is common practice for those in need. If you're looking for an excuse to get away, consider going to Dubai while celebrating Eid al Fitr. Discounts and promotions are offered by a number of businesses and tourist destinations.
Day of Arafah
One of the most holy days on the Islamic calendar is Arafah Day. It is accompanied by a major holiday called Eid al Adha, on the second day of Hajj pilgrimage. Participants in the hajj will honor this day by visiting Mount Arafat in Mecca and performing namaz at the foot of it. Out of respect, there's no mass celebration on this day. Arafah Day was celebrated in 2023 on June 27, according to the Gregorian calendar, while it will be marked on June 15 in 2024.
Eid Al Adha
Eid al Adha is a major holiday for Muslims, which they celebrate every year. It's also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, and it's a celebration of Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail to Allah. In 2023, Eid al Dahdah will be celebrated between Wednesday, June 28, and Friday, June 30. Eid Al Azha 2024 will be celebrated on the 16th and 18th of June.
Muslim New Year
As recognized by the Islamic calendar, the Islamic New Year marks the beginning of the year. Muslims are using this period to reflect on the steps they've taken over the past year and begin a fast. The Gregorian date for the Islamic New Year in 2023 was July 21. It will take place on July 7, 2024. It's a good time to clean your mind and body from bad thoughts, fights, and all kinds of sins. However, Muslims do not consider this day a holiday but a time to reflect on their past actions.
In our newest article, we covered the main holidays in the United Arab Emirates. We have given you this information so that you can schedule your stay in the country and plan your visit accordingly. A lot of the abovementioned holidays are religious, but that doesn’t mean you can enjoy watching the celebration. Visiting a foreign country is all about the experience it entails. Therefore, watching the festivities is a great way to get acquainted with the country’s traditions and customs.