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Public Holidays in Abu Dhabi

The year of Prophet Mohammed’s migration (Hijrah) from Mecca to Al Madinah in 622 AD, is the start of the Islamic calendar. Hence the Islamic year is called the Hijri year and dates are followed by AH (After Hijra). The Hijri calendar is based on lunar months; there are 354 or 355 days in the Hijri year, which are divided into 12 lunar months, and is thus 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year.

Some holidays are based on the sighting of the moon and are not fixed dates on the Hijri calendar; hence the dates of Islamic holidays are notoriously imprecise, with holidays frequently being confirmed less than 24 hours in advance. Most companies send an email around the day before, notifying employees of the confirmed holiday date. Some non-religious holidays, however, are fixed according to the Gregorian calendar. The number of days a holiday lasts is shown within brackets in the table. This applies mainly to the public sector. If you work in the private sector you may get fewer days off, which can cause child care problems as schools fall under the public sector and therefore have extended holidays.

The main Muslim festivals are Eid Al Fitr (the festival of the breaking of the fast, which marks the end of Ramadan) and Eid Al Adha (the festival of the sacrifice, which marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca). Mawlid Al Nabee is the holiday celebrating the Prophet Mohammed's birthday, and Lailat Al Mi'raj celebrates the Prophet's ascension into heaven.

A three-day mourning period is usually announced when a member of the ruling families, government minister or the head of a neighbouring state dies (which can extend to an official period of 40 days). Government offices and some private companies will close for the period.




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