UAE public holidays 2023: Ramadan in March and five long weekends

Six-day 'weekend' for residents in June

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Residents will notice some significant differences in the holiday dates in 2023 — including an early start to Ramadan and some extra-long weekends.

The UAE Cabinet recently confirmed the dates of the Emirates' holidays for public and private sectors.

The government announced in 2019 that private sector workers would have the same number of holidays as government employees.

At the time, the cabinet said the alignment aimed to achieve balance between the two sectors and support the national economy. Previously, public sector employees had more days off than private companies.

After New Year's Day, the UAE has four main holidays during the year: Eid Al Fitr; Arafat Day and Eid Al Adha; Hijiri New Year; and National Day — which includes Commemoration Day.

The biggest change residents will notice is that Ramadan will next year start in late March.

In 2022, the holy month began on April 1.

Because Ramadan is decided by the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 lunar months totalling either 354 or 355 days, it moves up to 10 days earlier in the Gregorian calendar each year.

In 2030, Muslims around the world will observe Ramadan twice in one year — a phenomenon that last occurred in 1997.

The exact date of Ramadan can only be determined a night or two before the holy month begins because the Hijri calendar is based on moon cycles. The beginning of the month of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of a new crescent moon.

Based on current calculations, Ramadan in 2023 is expected to start around March 23, which means Eid Al Fitr — the festival that marks the end of Ramadan — is expected to be from Thursday, April 20 to Sunday, April 23.

Five long weekends

It's expected that residents will have the first of five expected long weekends.

The longest break in 2023 will be for Arafat Day and Eid Al Adha.

Arafat Day, the second day of the week-long Hajj pilgrimage, is expected to be on Tuesday, June 27, followed by Eid Al Adha, one of the most important days in the Muslim calendar. The three-day holiday for Eid Al Adha is expected to be from Wednesday, June 28 to Friday, June 30.

In total, residents could have a six-day break, as Eid Al Adha is set to be followed by the weekend.

The public holiday to mark Hijiri New Year — Islamic New Year — falls on Friday July 21, which will mean another long weekend.

Prophet Mohammed's birthday falls on Friday September 29, which also give residents a long weekend.

The holiday for National Day falls on Saturday December 2 and Sunday December 3 ― with the likelihood of another long weekend in store.

Holidays for 2023

January 1: New Year's Day

April 20 to 23: Eid Al Fitr

June 27: Arafat Day

June 28 to 30: Eid Al Adha

July 21: Islamic New Year

September 29: Prophet Mohammed’s birthday

December 2 and 3: UAE National Day

Updated: January 03, 2023, 10:53 AM
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