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UAE holidays

Use our guide to the UAE's public holidays to plan your year

Guides, Staff report
07:00 June 5, 2016
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We’re calling 2017 the Year of the Long Weekend. And the reason for this is because almost all holidays, this year, fall around a weekend, giving most workers at least a three-day holiday.

Here is our guide to the UAE public holidays scheduled for 2017. Those working in the public sector can expect more days off than those in the private sector. All public holidays are paid, and may not count towards an employee’s annual leave.

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All dates marked with an asterix (*) are tentative and will only be final once confirmed by the UAE Government.


DayDate - 2017OccasionHolidays
SundayJanuary 1 New Year's Day      1
SundayApril 23 Al Isra'a Wal Mi’raj – Ascension day      1
SaturdayMay 27 *Ramadan expected to begin      0
SundayJune 25 Eid Al Fitr      2
ThursdayAugust 31 *Arafat (Haj) Day      1
FridaySeptember 1 *Eid Al Adha – Feast of Sacrifice      2
FridaySeptember 22 *Al Hijri - Islamic New Year      1
ThursdayNovember 30 Commemoration Day      1
ThursdayNovember 30* Milad Un Nabi - Birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)      1
SaturdayDec-02UAE National Day      2

*Dates subject to change in accordance with moon sighting


January 1 – New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is fixed on January 1 to celebrate the dawn of the new Gregorian year. The UAE joins the global party with fireworks, parades, and parties. Last year, Burj Khalifa was the centerpiece for one of the greatest firework displays the UAE has ever seen.

In 2017, New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, so it will be a 3-day weekend in the UAE. Make sure you make your NYE plans well in advance.


April 23 – Al Isra'a Wal Mi’raj – Ascension Day

Al Isra'a Wal Mi’raj is an Islamic holiday, which is observed annually on the 27th day of the Islamic month of Rajab, according to the Hijri calendar. The holiday marks the night Allah took Mohammad (PBUH) on a journey from Makkah to Jerusalem, and then to heaven. The journey was made in a single night, hence the name.

In 2017, as far as the Gregorian calendar is concerned, the holiday falls on Sunday April 23.


June 25 – Eid Al Fitr

Roughly translated, Eid Al Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast”. The holiday is a celebration which marks the end of Ramadan (which is forecast to begin on June 25). It is a time to show kindness to others and love for Allah.

Eid Al Fitr begins automatically after the last day of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal. Holidays vary between two and three days from the start of Eid Al Fitr, so expect a long weekend.


August 31 – Arafat Day

Arafat Day is the second day of the annual haj (or pilgrimage). The holiday takes place the day before the start of Eid Al Adha. At dawn, Muslim pilgrims make their way from Mina to a nearby hillside called Mount Arafat and a plain called the Plain of Arafat.

In 2017 Arafat Day falls on a Thursday, so get ready for a long weekend.

The date is subject to moon-sighting and could change.


September 1 – Eid Al Adha

Eid Al Adha translates to the “festival of sacrifice”. The holiday honours Ibrahim and his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for Allah. Ismail is happy to oblige before Allah sends his angel, Jibra’il, to inform Ibrahim that he has already accepted the sacrifice from his heart.

Goats are sacrificed and divided into three parts: one part for the family, one part for relatives, and one part for the poor. The holiday begins on the 10th day of Dhu Al Hijja – the last month of the Hijri calendar.

In 2017, Eid Al Adha is expected to begin on Friday September 1. Usually lasting for three days, it is very likely that workers will celebrate with a long weekend.

The date is subject to moon-sighting and could change.


September 21 – Al Hijri – Islamic New Year

Al Hijri is the Islamic New Year. Expected to fall on Thursday, September 21 in 2017, it is likely that workers in the UAE will enjoy a long weekend.

In 2017, the new Islamic year will be 1438.

The date is subject to moon-sighting and could change.


November 30 – Commemoration Day

Commemoration Day (sometimes referred to as Martyr’s Day) is a new public holiday and is fixed on November 30. The day was declared by His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, in 2015 to honour Emiratis who have died for their country.

The remembrance will fall on a Thursday in 2017 and workers can expect yet another long weekend.


November 30 – Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) Birthday

The birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi Al Awwal. In Arabic, the holiday is referred to as Eid Al Mawlid an Nabawi.

In 2017, November 30 falls on a Thursday and with Commemoration Day also falling on this day, it is possible an extra day will be granted on Sunday to create a long weekend.

The date is subject to moon-sighting and could change.


December 2 – UAE National Day

The UAE’s National Day is fixed on December 2 each year. Although the UAE – or the Trucial States as it was known until 1971 – was never part of the British Empire, it was a British Protectorate. The protectorate treaty was withdrawn on December 1 1971, paving the way for the federal unification of the Trucial States.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah made up the original UAE, with Ras Al Khaimah joining in a year later in 1972. 2017 will be the UAE’s 46th birthday.

One or two days are granted as public holidays, and as December 2 is a Saturday, it is possible that Sunday, December 3 is also granted as a holiday and workers could receive a long weekend.