The United Arab Emirates, often called the UAE, is a special country comprising seven areas called emirates. Each emirate has its special history and charm. Please think of the UAE as a big family with seven siblings, each having its personality! Not only is the UAE rich in history, but it’s also a place where many cultures come together. It’s like a big mix of traditions from all over the world. And guess what? The UAE loves to celebrate! They have a lot of public holidays throughout the year. Knowing about these holidays is good if you live there or plan to visit. It’s like knowing when there’s a big family gathering or party. So, always be ready for a celebration in the UAE!

Whether planning a trip or just curious about these celebrations, here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding UAE public holidays.

Understanding the Basics

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The UAE celebrates special holidays from Islamic traditions because the country is closely connected to its religion. Like many other places that follow Islam, the UAE uses a special Hijri calendar. This calendar is based on the moon’s phases and is different from what most people use, called the Gregorian calendar. It’s important to know this if you’re planning visits or events in the UAE so you can be aware of their special days. Remember, understanding and respecting other cultures helps us all get along better!

List of UAE Public Holidays

Based on the information provided by the official UAE government portal and WAM – Emirates News Agency, here are the main public holidays in the UAE:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st) – A global celebration marking the beginning of the new year.
  • Eid Al Fitr – A celebration that comes at the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The exact date varies, as it’s based on the sighting of the moon.
  • Arafat Day & Eid Al Adha – Commemorating the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to follow God’s command to sacrifice his son, these holidays span multiple days. There are many places to visit during Eid Al Adha to enjoy the holiday. 
  • Hijri New Year (Islamic New Year) – Celebrates the beginning of the Islamic lunar calendar year.
  • Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday – Celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
  • Commemoration Day (November 30th) – A day to honor and remember UAE’s martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their country.
  • National Day (December 2nd) – Celebrates the UAE’s official nationalization from the British Protectorate Treaties and the eventual unification of the seven emirates in 1971.

Flexible Dates

Some public holidays are based on the moon’s cycle. This means their dates might change every year. The day we celebrate these holidays depends on when the moon is spotted. Because of this, sometimes these holidays are told to us only a few days before they happen. It’s good to keep this in mind so you’re always prepared.

How are Public Holidays Celebrated?

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The UAE is a place of wonder, especially during its public holidays. Imagine dazzling fireworks lighting up the sky on New Year’s Eve or warm gatherings during Eid celebrations, where families come together for special meals. These aren’t the only festivities to look forward to! Across the different parts of the UAE, events, parades, and festivals showcase the nation’s deep-rooted traditions.

So, if you’re a tourist or even a local, there’s always something to see and experience. The UAE’s holidays are more than just celebrations; they offer a window into its rich history and culture. It’s truly a treat for anyone present during these times. Suppose you can join in and be part of these beautiful moments. You’ll cherish the memories forever.

Public and Private Sectors

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In the UAE, both public and private jobs have public holidays. But, public jobs might get longer breaks than private ones on certain holidays.

UAE’s public holidays are special. They show the country’s culture and important celebrations. Knowing and respecting these special days is good if you live there or are just visiting. Want to learn more about these holidays? You can check the official UAE government website or WAM. It’s not just a day off; it’s about the UAE’s traditions and beliefs. So, always remember to understand and honor them.

Shopping and Services during Public Holidays

During public holidays in the UAE, places like shopping malls and restaurants get super busy. Lots of stores give special deals, especially during Eid. This means two things: first, you can find cool stuff at a lower price, and second, there will be many people everywhere. So, if you’re excited about shopping or seeing the festive sales, get ready for a fun and lively time.

But remember, some places like government offices might be closed or open for fewer hours during big holidays. So, if there’s a place you want to go, it’s smart to check if it’s open during a public holiday. This way, you will be satisfied. Always be prepared and have fun shopping!

Traveling during UAE Public Holidays

If you’re thinking of traveling to the UAE during a public holiday, here’s what you should know:

  1. Lots of visitors: The UAE will have many local and foreign visitors. This means places might be packed.
  2. Busy airports: Airports like the one in Dubai might have more people than usual.
  3. Costly flights: Because many want to fly, ticket prices might increase. Check out our comprehensive guide to find the cheapest flights from Dubai to Manila if you travel in the Philippines. 
  4. Road traffic: Expect more cars, especially near popular places.
  5. Special events: The good part? Cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi will have amazing celebrations!
  • Traditional dances: You can see beautiful dances from the UAE’s culture.
  • Concerts: Enjoy music from various artists.
  • Dubai fountain shows: The Dubai Fountain might have special performances for the holiday.

Cultural Etiquettes to Remember

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Here is some advice to enhance your experience:

  • Respect local traditions: The UAE is modern, but honoring local customs is essential, especially during religious holidays.
  • Dress modestly on religious holidays:
    • Women: Cover arms, legs, and possibly the head, especially at religious sites.
    • Men: Avoid shorts and sleeveless shirts at religious places.
  • Mindful public behavior: During Ramadan, locals fast from dawn to sunset. Refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during these hours.
  • Greetings matter: During Eid, greeting someone with “Eid Mubarak” is a kind gesture and is highly appreciated.


The UAE has many special holidays that show its traditions and beliefs. These holidays are like a colorful patchwork quilt that tells the story of the country’s past and its people. When you learn about and respect these special days, you get a true feel of what it’s like to be in the UAE. It’s a bit like diving into a storybook! These holidays help us understand the important things the people of the UAE care about. 

Celebrating and honoring these days will make your time in the UAE even more special and memorable. So, learning about them and joining the celebrations is a good idea! It’s like getting a VIP pass to the heart of the UAE.

About Author

Rizalie Gumalog

About Author

Rizalie Gumalog is a digital storyteller known for her eclectic writing styles that captivate audiences. With her almost 3 years of experience, she crafts engaging articles that build meaningful connections between brands and their audience. Drawing inspiration from nature and music, Riza is committed to creating enriching experiences and is always ready for new digital explorations.