The Eid Al Fitr 2016 dates are still up in the air, but here’s when it’s likely to fall (and what it means).

We are now officially one whole week into Ramadan, but when will it end and when will the Eid Al Fitr holidays begin?

Well, predicting when Ramadan begins and ends is always just an estimation because both the start and end date of the Holy Month depend on the sighting of the new moon. (This means Ramadan beginning on June 6 was only determined at about 8pm on Sunday June 5.)

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Ramadan began on Monday June 6, and the Holy Month of fasting normally lasts 29 or 30 days, which means that Eid Al Fitr is very likely to fall either on Tuesday July 5th or Wednesday July 6th.

eid-moon-Men sight the Ramadan moon in Bahrain this year. 

If Eid begins on Tuesday July 5th the private sector will get two days off (which may be the Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning with one day annual leave you could have a five day weekend). Or, if Eid falls on Wednesday July 6th that means a four day weekend for all workers in the UAE.

These are looking like the only two possible options according to the lunar calendar.

eid-dubai-mallDubai Mall gets very busy over the Eid weekend. 

So, if the moon is sighted on Monday July 4th, the lunar month of Ramadan will be 29 days and the first day of Eid will be on Tuesday July 5th. If it’s not sighted it will be declared that Ramadan will last 30 days and the start of Eid will be celebrated on the Wednesday.

With Eid falling over summer over the past few years it’s become a time of year when many people fly out of the country for a long weekend to escape the summer heat. The outward flow of people from the UAE will be even more obvious this year, with the holiday falling near the start of the school holidays. Schools close for the summer on June 23, and the last day for teachers will be July 5.

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What is Eid Al Fitr?

Called ‘The Festival of the Fast Breaking’, Eid Al Fitr marks the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal, which always follows Ramadan.

Just before Eid Muslim families donate food to the poor, and on the first day of Eid they gather at mosques for the early morning prayer at around 5am. This prayer is often performed outside (as seen in the picture above).

After the prayer people usually spend time with family and friends to celebrate the end of the month of fasting, giving children gifts to celebrate the occasion.

Photos: Getty 

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