UAE Public Holidays

Many UAE Public Holidays and Festivals are based on the sighting of the moon rather than having fixed dates in the Hijra Calendar. 

This means that many holidays are confirmed as late as 24 hours before. 

UAE national holidays for 2016 are provided here.

The Hijra year (the Islamic year consisting of 354 or 355 days divided into 12 lunar months) started in 622AD when Prophet Muhammed migrated (hijra) from Mecca to AL Madinah.

Typically, public sector employees receive more 'public' days off than those in the private sector. For full time staff, listed public holidays are paid and are usually not considered part of the annual leave allocation. While malls and shops are often open (with reduced or changed hours), other entities like Embassy's or Utilities/Services offices will likely be closed - it's best to check their websites.

For the past UAE public holidays, check out the listings for 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015.

UAE Public Holidays 2016

1 Jan 2016 (Friday) International New Year (1 day)
5 May 2016 (Thursday) Al Isra'a Wal Mi'raj Night* (1 day)
6 Jun 2016 (Monday) Ramadan expected to begin* (29/30 days)
7 Jul 2016 (Thursday) Eid Al Fitr * (2/3 days)
10 Sept 2016 (Saturday) Arafat (Haj) Day* (1 day)
11 Sept 2016 (Sunday) Eid Al Adha* (3 days)
2 Oct 2016 (Sunday) Hijra New Year's Day* (1 day)
2 Dec 2016 (Friday) UAE National Day (2 days)
12 Dec 2016* (Monday) Birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) (1 day)

*date based on the siting of the moon and thus subject to change.

Muslim Calendar Festivals and Events
  • Eid Al Fitr – the breaking of the fast marking the end of Ramadan
  • Arafat - the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage and the day before Eid al Adha. Named after the geographical area Arafa where the Prophet gave his Farewell Sermon.
  • Eid Al Adha – the sacrifice which marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca
  • Mawlid Al Nabee – holiday celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday 
  • Lailat Al Mi’raj – the prophets ascension into heaven 
  • Ashura - commemorates the death in battle of the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain 
Not all Muslim Calendar events are public holidays in the commercial sector.

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