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UAE public holidays 2016

Public Holidays

What days will you be having off this year? Check out the list below so you can start planning your diary.

FYI: All public holidays are paid and don’t count towards your annual leave. Some dates may vary slightly, depending on the local sightings of the moon.

January 1: New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is fixed and celebrates the dawn of the new Gregorian year. In the UAE you can expect incredible fireworks, parades, and parties.

May 5: Israa and Miraj Night

This is an Islamic holiday which is observed annually on the 27thday of the Islamic month of Rajab, according to the hijri calendar. The date 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, which explains the name.

June 6: Ramadan is expected to begin

The holy month is a time to show kindness to others and love for Allah.

July 7: Eid Al Fitr (three-day holiday)

Eid Al Fitr means ‘festival of breaking the fast’ (roughly translated). This holiday is more of a celebration to mark the end of Ramadan. Holidays vary between two and three days, so expect a long weekend.

September 10: Arafat Day

This is the second day of the annual haj (or pilgrimage). The holiday takes place the day before the start of Eid Al Adha. Muslim pilgrims make their way at dawn from Mina to a nearby hillside called Mount Arafat and a plain called the Plain of Arafat. This holiday is a single day, but this year it falls on a Saturday, so those with a full weekend off already will probably not benefit from more days off work.

September 11: Eid Al Adha (three-day holiday)

Translated as the ‘festival of sacrifice’, this 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. The holiday begins on the 10th day of Dhu Al Hijja – the last month of the hijri calendar. Goats are sacrificed and then divided into three parts: one part for the family, one for relatives and one for the poor. This year the holiday is likely to begin on Sunday September 11. It usually lasts three days so some workers could end up getting the whole week off.

October 2: Hijri New Year

As this holiday falls on a Sunday this year, it’s likely workers in the UAE will enjoy a long weekend. In 2016, the new Islamic year will be 1437.

November 30: Martyr’s Day

Commemoration Day (or Martyr’s Day as it’s sometimes referred to) is a new public holiday 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 falls on a Wednesday in 2016 and a single day off work will be granted.

December 2/3: UAE National Day (two-day holiday)

A fixed holiday every year. 2016 will be the UAE’s 45th birthday. One or two days are granted as public holidays. This year December 2 is a Friday, so it’s possible we could get a long weekend.

December 12: Prophet Mohammed’s 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. One day off is given, but as December 12 is a Monday the day off work could be moved to the Sunday to create a long weekend.

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