Our guide to the 2022 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 2022. 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.
|Holiday||Public Holiday Dates||Day||Fixed/Islamic||Notes|
|New Year||January 1 2022||Saturday||Fixed||Start of the Gregorian calendar.|
|Eid al-Fitr||May 2 - 4 2022||Monday - Wednesday||Islamic||In 2022, Ramadan expected to last 30 days until Sunday May 1. Combined with new Saturday/Sunday weekend, likely to be five-day break for most.|
|Arafah Day||July 8 2022||Friday||Islamic||Islamic day 9 Dhu al-Hijjah.|
|Eid al-Adha||July 9 - 11 2022||Saturday to Monday||Islamic|
|Islamic New Year||July 30 2022||Saturday||Islamic||Also known as Hijri New Year. Marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year.|
|Prophet Muhammad's Birthday||October 8 2022||Saturday||Islamic|
|Commemoration Day||December 1 2022||Thursday||Fixed||Also known as Martyr's Day. New public holiday to honour Emiratis who have died for their country.|
|UAE National Day||December 2 -3 2022||Friday and Saturday||Fixed||Celebrates 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 2022
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 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.
In 2022 Ramadan is expected to be 30 days long (Islamic months can be 29 or 30 days long). Ramadan 2022 is expected to end on May 1, meaning Monday, May 2 will be the first day of Eid al-Fitr.
As the weekend in the UAE is now Saturday and Sunday, most workers will enjoy a 5-day break for Eid.
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 Friday, July 8, 2022.
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 2022, this will be Saturday, July 9.
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.
In 2022, it is expected to fall on Saturday, July 30.
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 2022, it is expected to fall on Saturday 8 October.
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.
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 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.