Public Holidays in Dubai

Public holidays in Dubai can be broken down into two categories; those that are fixed in the standard Gregorian calendar (Western calendar), and Islamic holidays that follow the Hijri calendar (Islamic calendar).

The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar with 365 days (366 days in a leap year), whereas the Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar with 354 days.

Islamic holidays will therefore shift 11 or 12 days every year in relation to the Gregorian calendar. Things are further complicated by the fact that the start date of each month in the Islamic calendar is determined by local sightings of the moon (and can vary by a day from the anticipated date).

The actual dates of Islamic holidays are only confirmed a day a so before they begin.

The weekend in Dubai is Friday and Saturday. If a public holiday falls on one of these days, workers will generally get the next weekday off.

Public holidays in Dubai and the UAE for 2021 are listed in the table below. Actual dates may vary slightly as Islamic holidays are confirmed.

HolidayPublic Holiday DatesFixed/IslamicNotes
New YearJanuary 1 2021FixedStart of the Gregorian calendar.
Eid Al FitrMay 11 - 15 2021IslamicRamadan 29 - Shawwal 3
Arafat DayJuly 19 2021IslamicSecond day of the Hajj (the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca). Islamic day 9 Dhu al-Hijjah (19 July).
Eid Al AdhaJuly 20 - 22 2021IslamicIslamic days 10 -12 Dhu al-Hijjah.
Islamic New YearAugust 12 2021IslamicAlso known as Hijri New Year. Marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year.
Prophet Muhammad's BirthdayOctober 21 2021Islamic
Commemoration DayDecember 1 2021FixedAlso known as Martyr's Day. New public holiday to honour Emiratis who have died for their country.
UAE National DayDecember 2 -3 2021FixedCelebrates the union of the emirates. Usually offers parades, firework displays, concerts, and more.

As the Hijri calendar is shorter than the Gregorian calendar it is also possible for an Islamic holiday to be held twice within a western calendar year.

Firework Display - UAE National Day - One of the most popular public holidays in Dubai
Firework Display – UAE National Day

Ramadan

Ramadan is not a public holiday. It is ninth and holiest month in the Hijri calendar. During the month observant Muslim do not eat or drink during the daytime. Working hours are reduced.

Christmas

Christmas Day is not a public holiday in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Islam is the official religion of the UAE, but the festivals and holidays of other religions are tolerated.

Shopping malls and many hotels will be decorated for the ‘festive season’, just as in western countries. However, expat-orientated schools will tend to hold ‘winter’ concerts rather than nativity plays.

Some western companies may give staff a holiday, though most workers wishing to celebrate the day will have to book time off.

New Year

New Year’s Day (January 1 – Gregorian calendar) is a public holiday but New Year’s Eve isn’t.

The Islamic New Year (Hijri) is also a public holiday in the UAE.

Comments and Additional Information

  1. Is December 3 is also holiday for private sector? if the company required to work during that date, the company should pay them?

    Reply
  2. Hello,
    If my company asking me to work on Friday and public holiday falls on Saturday, do I entitled to get over time since I worked for 26 days ??

    Reply
    • Hello,

      Based on the law you will have to get off at that day, or get the additional off later after the holidays, or get paid.

      Reply
  3. According to the official website of the UAE government commemoration day will be December 1st (as of the latest update on October 1st)

    Reply
  4. If any company allow to friday hoilday but detect money of the friday hoilday in your salary any law available for them

    Reply
    • They cant deduct any money for giving off on that day. NO LAW for that. but Law as I mentioned before : Get off that day officially, or get paid, or get the off later after the holidays

      Reply
  5. How many Holiday in total this 2019, I’m counting 15 Holiday?, please correct me if I’m wrong. Thank you

    Reply
  6. Is there is any holiday as on Islamic new year.

    Reply
  7. Hi there! Thinking in the holiday that your celebrate on Sunday, December 1, 2019, will be desert tours? And if there will be, will that affect your activities like belly dancing an others? And if there will be no tours on December 1…will there be December 2? The malls will remain open or closed on Monday 2, December? Thanks!

    Reply
  8. I am planning a business trip to Dubai in October, are there any events/disruptions expected during October, or any dates to be avoided?

    Reply
  9. Is it possible can you update according to 2019 and 2020 public holidays ?

    Reply
    • 2019 public holidays have been updated. Holidays for 2020 will be added later in the year.

      Reply
      • 30th Nov 2019 is the confirm date for Commemoration Day holiday or else it will be on 1st Dec 2019?

        Reply
  10. What are the durations of these holidays

    Reply
    • The length of the holidays are listed in the table.

      Reply
  11. Just a little wondering. If my day off in a week falls on a public holiday. Am I entitled for another off day in the future? Is there any law regulating this? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Yes.

      Reply
  12. Is it possible if you could release public holiday for 2018?

    Reply
    • Now updated.

      Reply
  13. Nice article. Thanks.

    Reply
  14. This article could have been better written. Why is it only focusing on westerners?

    Reply
    • Most of our readers are westerners. We’re an English language website.

      Reply

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