Understanding Public Holidays in Dubai
Public holidays are an important feature of every country and are important to note when thinking about emigrating from the UK. In the UK, public holidays tend to be a relaxing day off work, seeing family and friends to mark a national or religious occasion such as Christmas, Easter and bank holidays. In Dubai however, holidays are based upon Islam and festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon. Here is a basic overview of the various Public holidays and festivals in Dubai.
Dubai Public HolidaysThe only public holiday celebrated in both the UK and Dubai is New Year’s Day. Dubai’s National Public Holidays tend to be based on the Islam practices and are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon. Therefore, dates given on the Islamic calendar for such festivals are only ever approximations and only become definitive nearer the time.
The main holidays include;
MouloudMouloud is a term referring to when the Islamic Prophet Muhammad was born. Mouloud is celebrated in a carnival manner, large street processions are held and homes or mosques are decorated. Charity and food are distributed, and stories about the life of Prophet Muhammad are narrated with recitation of poetry by children.
Leilat al-MeirajThis celebration marks the night when the Prophet attained a high spiritual level and was spiritually transported to heaven. Muslims believe that Muhammad was told of the duty of Muslims to recite a ritual prayer five times a day, whilst he was in heaven. Muslims bring their children to the mosques, where the children are told the story, pray with the adults, and then afterwards food and treats are served.
Eid-Ul-FitrThis marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Id-Ul-Fitr is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the Islamic calendar and it occurs after the sighting of the new crescent moon, which signals the end of the month of Ramadan. On this day Muslims wake very early, say prayers and eat a little to symbolise the end of Ramadan. Eid is very special for the children who have kept their first fast.
Eid-al-AdhaThis commemorates the Sacrifice made by the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) when God asked him to give his own son. The feast commemorates Ibrahim in sacrificing a cow or ram. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The Feast of the Sacrifice symbolises obedience to Allah and its distribution to others is an expression of generosity, one of the five pillars of Islam.
This festival is a very happy time for Muslims for special prayers, visits to family and friends, gifts to children and, of course by food. For many families, it may be one of the few times during the year that they have the opportunity to enjoy meat, and only the best dishes are served.