UAE Holidays 2023 – Public Holidays

Our guide to the 2023 public holidays in the UAE and Dubai will help you stay up-to-date with all of this year’s long weekends and holiday seasons. With a guide from us, planning your break is much easier than ever before.

List of Public Holidays

The table below shows a list of national holidays for 2023. These official holidays apply to both public and private sector employees.

Actual dates may vary slightly as Islamic holidays are confirmed. See our explanation below for the difference between Islamic and fixed holidays.

HolidayPublic Holiday DatesDayFixed/IslamicNotes
New YearJanuary 1 2023SundayFixedStart of the Gregorian calendar.
Eid al-FitrApril 20 - 23 2023Thursday - SundayIslamic
Arafah DayJune 27 2023TuesdayIslamicIslamic day 9 Dhu al-Hijjah.
Eid al-AdhaJune 28 - 30 2023Wednesday to FridayIslamic
Islamic New YearJuly 21 2023FridayIslamicAlso known as Hijri New Year. Marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year.
Prophet Muhammad's BirthdaySeptember 29 2023FridayIslamic
Commemoration DayDecember 1 2023FridayFixedAlso known as Martyr's Day. New public holiday to honour Emiratis who have died for their country.
UAE National DayDecember 2 -3 2023Saturday and SundayFixedCelebrates the union of the emirates. Usually offers parades, firework displays, concerts, and more.

Fixed and Islamic Holidays

UAE holidays 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 about 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 subject to the crescent moon sighting and are only confirmed by the UAE government a day a so before they begin.

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.It’s important to note that a public holiday, commonly known as a bank holiday, will not count towards an employee’s annual leave.

Weekends and the UAE Weekend Change

Towards the end of 2021, the United Arab Emirates announced that for 2022 going forwards, it would move its weekend to bring them more in step with the Western calendar and the global markets.

The UAE government declared a four-and-a-half day work week for public sector employees, moving the weekend from Friday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday. Most private sector employers are expected to follow.

If a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, workers will generally get the next weekday off.

New Year’s Day

The United Arab Emirates celebrates New Year’s Day as a public holiday. Many people spend time with family and friends, enjoying traditional meals and festivities.

New Year’s Eve is one of the most anticipated days of the year for those who reside in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Both cities host extravagant firework displays.

New Year’s Eve is not a holiday.

Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr is a public holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” in Arabic and is celebrated with special prayers and feasts.

In the UAE Eid al-Fitr is a 3-day holiday.

Arafah Day

Arafah Day (or Arafat Day) is a public holiday in the United Arab Emirates.

It falls on the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah and marks the day that the Prophet Muhammad gave his Final Sermon (or the Last Sermon) at Mount Arafat during the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj.

It is considered one of the most important days of the Islamic year.

Arafah Day is expected to fall on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha is a public holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, as an act of obedience to God.

The start falls on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. In 2023, this will be Wednesday, June 28.

It is a 3-day public holiday in the UAE.

Islamic New Year

The Islamic New Year is a holiday that celebrates the beginning of a new Islamic or lunar calendar. It takes place on the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.

Like other new years celebrations, it is a time for reflection and resolutions for the coming year. For Muslims, this is an especially important time to renew their focus on Allah and their dedication to following his teachings.

It is also called the Hijri New Year or Arabic New Year.

Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday

The United Arab Emirates celebrates the birthday of Prophet Muhammad every year on the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-Awwal.

This special occasion is commemorated with prayers and special ceremonies held at mosques across the country.

In 2023, it is expected to fall on Friday, 29 September.

Commemoration Day

Commemoration Day UAE Dubai is a day to remember the sacrifices of the Emirati people and their leaders in the pursuit of independence and national unity.

It is held every year on December 1.

UAE National Day

UAE National Day is a public holiday in the United Arab Emirates. It celebrates the federal unification of the seven emirates in 1971, headed by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (first President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi).

It is celebrated annually on December 2 and 3.

In Dubai, events offered typically include fireworks displays, concerts, and parades.

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


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

Christmas Day

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’s Eve

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

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?

  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 ??

    • 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.

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

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

    • 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

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

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

  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!

  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?

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

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

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

  10. What are the durations of these holidays

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

  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!

    • Yes.

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

    • Now updated.

  13. Nice article. Thanks.

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

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


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