Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid death: the UAE's period of mourning explained

Royal deaths are marked with a period of mourning – but coronavirus means changes to funeral prayers

Related: Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid: the man who helped make Dubai a global financial hub

The death of a member of the UAE's royal families is marked with a mourning period.

The country announces this period as a mark of respect, and life across the Emirates takes on a more sombre tone.

During official mourning, flags fly at half-staff and radio stations play classical music for the duration. State-owned TV stations usually follow suit.

Most live entertainment, including radio broadcasts, are cancelled.

A 10-day mourning period was declared on Wednesday in Dubai after the death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

Flags will be flown at half-staff during this period. Work has been suspended in government departments and institutions for three days starting from Thursday.

President Sheikh Khalifa on Wednesday announced a three-day mourning period for the country and ordered that the UAE national flag be lowered to half-staff until Saturday.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid died during the coronavirus pandemic and the mourning period reflects precautionary measures.

Funeral prayers were limited to family members only, while absentee prayers were held after maghrib in mosques across the UAE.

In the past during official periods of mourning, federal ministries and government departments were closed, although this practice has declined in recent years and schools typically stay open.

After the death of the Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed in November 2004, the official mourning period was set at 40 days.

Government departments and schools closed for eight days and the private sector shut for three.


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