UAE holidays 2016

Use our guide to the UAE's public holidays to plan your 2016

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Image Credit: GN Archive

Read our guide to the public holidays which are scheduled for 2016. 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.


DayDate - 2016OccasionHolidays
FridayJanuary 1 New Year's Day      1
ThursdayMay 5 *Al Isra'a Wal Mi’raj - Ascension day      1
MondayJune 6First day of Ramadan begins      0
ThursdayJuly 6 *Eid Al Fitr      2
SundaySeptember 11 *Arafat (Haj) Day      1
MondaySeptember 12 *Eid Al Adha      2
SundayOctober 2 *Al Hijri - Islamic New Year      1
WednesdayNovember 30 Commemoration Day      1
FridayDecember 2 UAE National Day      2
MondayDecember 12*Milad Un Nabi - Birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)      1

*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 2016, New Year’s Day falls on a Friday, so it is unlikely that an additional day off work will be granted.

May 5 – 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.

In 2016, as far as the Gregorian calendar is concerned, the holiday falls on Thursday May 5. UAE workers can expect a long weekend.

Public holiday confirmed as Thursday, May 5.

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

July 6 – 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 6). 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 2016 it is predicted to begin on Wednesday July 6.

Public sector holidays are from Friday, July 1 to Saturday, July 9 with work resuming on Sunday, July 10 (9 days).

Private sector holidays are from Wednesday, July 6 to Saturday, July 9 with work resuming on July 10 (4 days).

Read more about this here

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

September 11 – 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.

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

September 12 – 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.

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 9th day of Dhu Al Hijja – the last month of the hijri calendar.

In 2016, Eid Al Adha is forecast to begin on Monday, September 12. Usually lasting for three days, including Arafat Day, it is very likely that some workers will get the entire week off.

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

October 2 – Al Hijri – Islamic New Year

Al Hijri is the Islamic New Year. Expected to fall on Sunday October 2 in 2016, it is likely that workers in the UAE will enjoy a long weekend.

In 2016, the new Islamic year will be 1437.

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 Wednesday in 2016 and a single day off work will be granted.

This year, the National Day and Commemoration Day holidays for the public sector will begin on December 1, Thursday, with work resuming on December 4, Sunday.

The private sector holiday will be on December 1 and 2, Thursday and Friday.

December 2 – UAE National Day

The UAE’s National Day is fixed on December 2 each year. Although the UAE – or Trucial States as it was 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 a year later in 1972. 2016 will be the UAE’s 45th birthday.

December 12 – 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 2016, December 12 is forecast to fall on Monday. A day off work is granted, this year the holiday has been moved to Sunday for a long weekend.

The UAE public and private sector will have a holiday on Sunday, December 11 to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The announcement was made by the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) on Wednesday, December 7.

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