UAE public holidays 2018 and 2019 calendar

This page contains the national calendar of UAE public holidays 2018 and 2019. These dates may be subject to change by the UAE government, so please check the updates regularly.

Normally we always recommend knowing the holidays of a place before making a trip. In the case of Dubai this is not easy, since most of their parties are established based on the lunar calendar, so it is impossible to know them exactly. Although the dates indicated are indicative, knowing their most important celebrations can be a good way to approach the Muslim world before knowing it in person.

These are the most popular UAE public holidays and celebrations:

Arafat Day 2018/2019

Arafat Day is the 2nd day of the week-long Hajj pilgrimage, that many Muslims in the U.A.E and elsewhere continue each year.

The hajj extends from the 8th to the 12th or 13th day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul Hijja, the last month of the Islamic year. The day of Arafat is the 9th day of Dhul Hijja, about 70 days after the end of Ramadan. The day immediately after Arafat Day is the first of three to four consecutive holidays and festival days known as “Eid Ul Adha.”

On Arafat’s day, hundreds of thousands of people gather on the hill called Mount Arafat and the plain it overlooks. This is the site where, it is believed, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) gave His “farewell address” towards the end of his life.

In the sermon, He declared that the religion of Islam was then perfected, and this statement became a very famous verse of the Qur’an.

The pilgrims make a vigil on Mount Arafat, standing there all night, praying and reading the Qur’an. Later, they symbolically stone the devil by throwing stones on three pillars, shaving their heads and offering Halal animal sacrifices (cows, sheep, goats, camels or buffalo)

In the U.A.E, both Arafat Day and Eid Al Adha are public-holidays, and people often have a full week off during this period. Those who can not go on pilgrimage will instead go to the mosque, fast, and offer additional prayers at home. Travel will be hectic during this period as thousands of people travel to Mecca and many businesses are closed.

YearDateDayHoliday
201820 AugMonArafat Day
201910 AugSatArafat Day

Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) Birthday 2017/2018

The Sunni date of Muhammad’s (p.b.u.h) birthday (Eid Miladun Nabi or Mawlid Sharifis a paid day holiday in the U.A.E.


From the western point of view, each year the event date varies greatly, because of the difference between the lunar and the solar calendars. Therefore, Eid Miladun Nabi or Mawlid Sharif can fall anytime in December, January or February.


YearDateDayHoliday
201730 NovThuProphet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) Birthday
201820 NovTueProphet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) Birthday

The Holy Month of RAMADAN 2018/2019

The ninth month of the Lunar calendar is known as “Ramadan” and is a time of fasting and prayer in the Islamic world, including the United Arab Emirates.

The 29-30 days long fast in this month is done to commemorate the first revelation of the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), and its observance is one of the five-pillars of the religion Islam – a list of the great actions that every Muslim should do in his life to ensure salvation.

The holy month of Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the-year, and its starting date is based on local moon observations, making it uncertain when it begins. During Ramadan, Muslims do not have the right to eat, drink, smoke or have sex from dawn to dusk. Muslims should focus on Allah, read the Koran, and give the poor more than usual this month.

Some, however, are exempt from the rules, including young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with serious health problems.

In the United Arab Emirates, working days are generally reduced by two hours during Ramadan, and many use this extra time to have a nap in the afternoon. Many remain even late in the night and become extremely tired during the day.

Unfortunately, this fatigue tends to make it a bit more irritable, less productive at work, and less safe driving. So, there is an economic slowdown and an increase in road accidents during Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates.

Even non-Muslims need to avoid certain activities during the month of Ramadan in the U.A.E, including:

  • Eating in public between dawn to dusk
  • Chewing gum
  • Drinking water, eating food or smoking in public
  • Drinking, even at a bar, though in Dubai, there’re exceptions
  • Listening to loud pop music, unless it is Islamic religious music
YearDateDayHoliday
201816 MayWedBeginning of Ramadan
20196 MayMonBeginning of Ramadan

Eid-Al-Fitr 2018/2019 Holidays

Eid Al Fitr is the first day of the Islamic Shawwal month and the first day after a month’s fasting and prayer during Ramadan.

Note: Eid al-Fitr vacations vary in the public and private sectors in the U.A.E.

In the United Arab Emirates, there is an official monitoring committee nominated by the UAE government, to declare Eid Al Fitr to observe the rising moon. The Eid Al Fitr dates vary each year.

Also read: Happy Eid ul Fitr

In the United Arab Emirates, Eid Al Fitr is an official holiday day: both public and private employees usually receive two paid-off work days. Companies will often have time schedules if they are open, and there will be big crowds surrounding the mosques and causing congested traffic.

YearDateDayHoliday
201814 JunThuEid-al-Fitr
15 JunFriEid-al-Fitr Holiday
16 JunSatEid-al-Fitr Holiday
17 JunSunEidal-Fitr Holiday
20194 JunTueEid-al-Fitr
5 JunWedEid-al-Fitr Holiday
6 JunThuEid-al-Fitr Holiday

The Prophet’s Ascension 2018/2019

The Prophet’s Ascension, also known as “Isra and Miraj,” is a Muslim holiday observed on the 27th day of the Islamic Rajab month.

It is believed that Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) ascended to heaven to receive special instructions and guide from Allah. The date migrates about 11 days before each year due to the differences between a lunar calendar and a solar calendar.

The name Isra and Miraj is given to the feast because of the journey of Mohammed from Mecca to Jerusalem, followed by ascension to heaven, since Israel means “night trip” and miraj means “ascension.”

The first part of the trip, Isra, is a journey made by Muhammad in one night around 621 DC. “the farthest mosque“. The identity of that mosque is somewhat controversial, but in general it is considered the Dome of the Rock on Mount Temple of Jerusalem.

From there, the traditions of the Quran and the Hadith tell us that Muhammad was taken by the Almighty Allah to the heaven. He is disputed that he has gone physically or only spiritually into an experience outside the body, but is generally accepted to ride on a winged horse named “Buraq“.

In heaven, it is said that Muhammad was given the command of Allah to pray five times a day, which is still a pillar of Islam even after 1439 years. It is important to remember that this ascent was not the end of Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) life, since he lived another 10 years, until 632 AD.

Instead, it was to see heaven and hell, speaking with prophets like Isa ibn Maryam (Moses son of Mary) and Musa ibn Amram (Moses), and getting new revelations from Allah. Before the end of the night, Muhammad had returned to Mecca, where he began his journey.

To celebrate the Ascension of the Prophet, many Muslims stand up at night reading the stories of Isra and Miraj or go to the mosque during the day to listen to them as they read, and there is often a special effort to communicate these stories to children. Some houses and mosques will be decorated with lights or candles, and prayers for the blessings of Allah are made in abundance. At home, many indulge in sweets and prepare a meal to share with friends and family.

In the United Arab Emirates, workers in the public and private sectors receive a free day with the pay for the Ascension of the Prophet with a decree of the government.
YearDateDayHoliday
201813 AprFriIsra’a Wal Mi’raj
20193 AprWedIsra’a Wal Mi’raj

Eid-Al-Adha 2018/2019 Holidays

Eid al-Adha (Day of Sacrifice) is one of the most important days of the Muslim calendar and is celebrated in the United Arab Emirates and the Muslim world.

In the United Arab Emirates, as in many Muslim countries, Eid al-Adha is a time of family and religious devotion. Considering that Eid means “solemn feast”, it is no surprise that Eid al-Adha has distinct religiosity with morning prayers at the mosque, listening to a sermon on the importance of sacrifice, wearing new clothes, and sacrificing animals (called Qurbani) constituting an important part of the way it is observed.

Related: Interesting Facts about Eid-Al-Adha

Eid al-Adha generally lasts for four consecutive days, starting on the tenth day of the Islamic month Dhul Hijja. Also note that the exact date is never set on stone until a government watchdog committee officially declares it.

Eid-al-Adha commemorates the Quranic tale of Prophet Ibrahim, which Ismael on Mount Moria undoubtedly offers in obedience to Allah. Allah then sends an angel to stop the sacrifice, allowing Ismael to live, and assures Prophet Ibrahim that his sacrifice “has already been accepted”.

Muslims who can afford it, in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere, often at this time of the year, go on a pilgrimage to Mecca to take part in the symbolic remembrances of Ibrahim’s sacrifice. Others, on the other hand, sacrifice an animal in their country of origin, usually a cow but sometimes a camel, a sheep, a goat or a ram.

For those who can not afford to buy a sacrificial animal on their own, family and group purchases are common. The meat of the sacrificed animal is traditionally divided into three parts. One third is kept by the family, one third is given to friends and relatives, and a third is given to the poor.

YearDateDayHoliday
201821 AugTueEid al-Adha
22 AugWedEid al-Adha Holiday
23 AugThuEid al-Adha Holiday
201911 AugSunEid al-Adha
12 AugMonEid al-Adha Holiday
13 AugTueEid al-Adha Holiday

Islamic New Year 2018/2019

In the United Arab Emirates, as in many Muslim countries, the Islamic New Year is a holiday. It falls on the first day of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is also known as “Al Hijra” (“Theft”) because of Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) flight from Mecca to Medina that day.

The flight followed the initial rejection by the people of Mecca of the Islamic religion, which Muhammad (P.B.U.H) had brought to them, and is an important event in the history of Islam.

Also read: Happy Islamic New Year

The new Islamic year varies according to the Gregorian calendar prospect commonly used throughout the world. According to that calendar, the new Islamic year moves around 11 days a year. The exact date is never certain, since each country announces it by moon sightings, but can generally be expected with great precision. Also note that the new Islamic year begins around 6 p.m, as the Islamic day begins always after sunset.

As far as the Islamic New Year is concerned, it is a non-working day for UAE public sector employees and, in some parts of the UAE, alcoholic beverages can not be sold legally throughout the day.

There are not really great fireworks and big celebrations during the Islamic New Year you see in the West and New Year’s Eve. In fact, there are often more fireworks that take place in Dubai on December 31, compared to Muharram’s first. Instead, Muslims go to the mosque and take time to relax, ponder and even cry their New Year.

YearDateDayHoliday
201811 SepTueIslamic New Year
201931 AugSatIslamic New Year

UAE Martyr’s Day 2017/2018

The Martyr’s Day is observed every year on November 30 in the United Arab Emirates. It is a time of commemoration for those who sacrificed their lives to serve their country.

Although Martyrs Day commemorates the deaths in civil and humanitarian services, it clearly focuses on military martyrs. The reason for choosing November 30 for the holidays is that the first UAE soldier to die for their country’s defense took place on that date.

It was during the Battle of Grand Tunb, when Iran attempted to conquer the offshore islands off the coast shortly before the formal unification of the nation on December 1 and 2. The first martyr was later killed by the Iranians after he refused to lower the flag of his emirate and submit to the invaders.

YearDateDayHoliday
201730 NovThuMartyrs’ Day
201830 NovFriMartyrs’ Day

UAE National Day 2017/2018

The National Day is the celebration of independence and the subsequent unification of the Emirates in 1971.

Update: The Department of Human Resources and Empowerment has announced that private sector employees will resume their jobs on December 3, 2017 (Sunday) while federal government employees will resume work on December 4, 2017 (Monday).

Related: UAE National Day 2017 Celebrations: Greetings And Congrats From Dubaiposter

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a union of seven distinct Arab kingdoms located on the south-eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula and bordering the Gulf. The story leading to this event is very complex.

YearDateDayHoliday
20172 DecSatNational Day
3 DecSunNational Day Holiday 
20182 DecSunNational Day

New Year’s Day 2018/2019

While in the United Arab Emirates there is also an Islamic New Year, January 1st is also a holiday – with the New Year celebrations being greeted every year with great pomp the Gregorian New Year.

Although many Islamic calendar based holidays are shifted when they fall on a weekend, for obvious reasons, this is not done with New Year’s Eve. Arab and Arab private and public sector workers will often receive a free day with wages to release them to celebrate the new year.

YearDateDayHoliday
20181 JanMonNew Year’s Day
20191 JanTueNew Year’s Day

 

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