Hijri New Year: UAE to mark Islamic event with public holiday

Government and private sector workers will have an extended weekend next week

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Public and private sector employees will enjoy a long weekend next week to mark the Islamic, or Hijri, New Year.

Authorities announced that Sunday, August 23, would be a public holiday for all staff. Work will resume on Monday, August 24.

The holiday marks the beginning of the new Islamic year 1442. It marks the day on which the Prophet Mohammed migrated from Makkah to Madinah.

The islamic calendar is lunar, which is why it does not correspond with the Gregorian calendar.

Muslims do not mark Islamic New Year with public celebrations or events. Hotels and bars are typically asked to refrain from serving alcohol and hosting live entertainment.

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The next public holiday the UAE will celebrate is likely to fall on October 29, to mark the Prophet Mohammed's birthday.

There will also be a three-day break in December, starting with a public holiday to mark Commemoration Day on Tuesday, December 1, followed by days off on December 2 and December 3 to celebrate National Day.

Last year, the UAE Cabinet issued a stipulation that the public and private sectors would have the same number of holiday days.

Previously, people employed in the public sector had more days off than those working for private companies.

The move was part of long-standing efforts to encourage Emiratis to move away from government jobs, where the vast majority of citizens work.