1. January 1 (SUNDAY) – New Year’s Day
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.
2. April 24 (MONDAY) – Al Isra’a Wal Mi’raj – Ascension Day
Al Isra’a Wal Mi’raj is an Islamic holiday, which is observed annually on the 27thday 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.
3. June 25 (SUNDAY) – 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. In 2017 it is predicted to begin on Sunday June 25. Holidays vary between two and three days from the start of Eid Al Fitr, so expect a long weekend.
4. August 31 (THURSDAY) – 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.
5. September 1 (FRIDAY) – 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.
6. September 21 (THURSDAY) – 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.
7. November 30 (THURSDAY) – 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.
8. November 30 (THURSDAY) – 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.
9. December 2 (SATURDAY) – 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.
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.