Keen to plan your annual leave for 2017 around the public holidays? Here you go…
Yes, most national holidays in the UAE are based on the sighting of the moon, so we don’t know exactly what days we’re going to have off in 2017, but here’s a general guide to the likely long weekends and public holidays of 2017.
We’ll announce each holiday as it’s definitely confirmed by the government, but, in the meantime, here’s the best guess…
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2017
Sunday January 1 – New Year’s Day
This has now been confirmed by the Dubai government as a public holiday for 2017, meaning we will start the year with a long weekend. Hurrah!
Monday April 24 – Al Isra’a Wal Mi’raj
The current predicted day off is the Monday, but that could well change to Sunday, meaning a three-day weekend.
The holiday marks the night that Mohammed (peace be upon him) travelled from Makkah to Jerusalem and then ascended to heaven.
Thursday May 25 – Ramadan expected to begin
This won’t be a day off, but it will most likely be the first day of Ramadan. During Ramadan, UAE labour law stipulates that all workers are entitled to work two hours less each day (and yet still be compensated for a standard day, which according to labour law is eight hours). However, non-Muslims working in DIFC are not entitled to the extra two hours off due to the area following its own labour laws.
Sunday June 25 – Eid Al Fitr (two days 0ff)
This holiday celebrates the end of Ramadan, ‘the breaking of the fast’. This date may vary as the holiday’s declaration depends on a moon sighting. It is currently expected to fall on Sunday June 25, and will mean at least two paid working days off (so we could have a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday weekend).
Thursday August 31 – Arafat Day
This marks the second day of the annual pilgrimage or haj – the holiday depends on the moon sighting, but if it falls on August 31 as predicted, it will mean yet another long weekend in the UAE. And it will be directly followed by…
Friday September 1 – Eid Al Adha (two days off)
This holiday honours Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (which is why goats are symbolically sacrificed over this period). While the date could change due to the moon sighting, the holiday is likely to fall on Friday September 1. It traditionally means two days off, which, when combined with Arafat Day, could mean a four day weekend.
Thursday September 21 – Al Hijri
Islamic New Year in 2017 will mark the year 1438 – and, while the date may change, it’s likely to fall on Thursday September 21, making it the second long weekend in September.
Thursday November 30 – Commemoration Day
Formerly referred to as Martyr’s Day, this new holiday honours the Emiratis who have died while protecting their country. It will always fall on November 30, this year it fell on a Wednesday but we didn’t get that specific day off (we instead got a combined day off for this and National Day). There hasn’t yet been an announcement of whether it will be a day off in 2017 or not.
Thursday November 30 – The birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
The date of this holiday is called by the moon-sighting committee, but it is predicted to fall on Thursday November 30 in 2017 – the same day as Commemoration Day. This will likely mean a four day weekend when combined with National Day.
Saturday December 2 – National Day
UAE National Day falls on December 2 every year, irrespective of the day. As it falls on a Saturday in 2017 it’s likely a day off will be granted on the Sunday (maybe as a combined public holiday with Commemoration Day and/or the birthday of Prophet Mohammed).
2017 will mark the UAE’s 46th birthday.