Abu Dhabi festivities are connected to Islam, the official religion of the United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi is an emirate conservative but tolerant of other religions, which can be freely practiced as long as they do not interfere with Islam.
Festivities in Abu Dhabi
Friday is the holy day in Abu Dhabi and in UAE.
The typical working week in Abu Dhabi is from Sunday to Thursday included.
The holy month is Ramadan, which falls every year on different dates, according to the Islamic lunar calendar.
Sunrise to sunset, Muslims abstain from food, smoke, and activities considered impure. Entertainment such as live music or dancing are not permitted. Parks and shops open late.
During Ramadan, even non-Muslims are encouraged to refrain from certain activities in public such as eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum. Breaking this rule can lead to an official reprimand.
The Gregorian calendar, based on year calendar, is adopted in most working environments and official communications.
For religious holidays the reference is the Islamic calendar, based on lunar months.
By reference to the Gregorian calendar year 2021, which corresponds Islamic calendar year 1442-1443, public holidays are:
🗓️ New Gregorian Year: January 1st 2021
🗓️ Eid Al Fitr (Ramadan ending): From last day of the Islamic month of Ramadan to 3 Shawwal (4 days), expected between the 11 and 13 May, 2021, to be confirmed according to the moon calendar* 🌗
🗓️ Arafat Day and Eid Al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice): From 9 to 12 Dhu al Hijjah (4 days), expected between the 19th and the 22nd of July 2021, to be confirmed according to the moon calendar* 🌗
🗓️ Hijri New Year (Islamic New Year): 1 Muharram – 9 or 10 August, 2021, to be confirmed according to the moon calendar* 🌗
🗓️ Milad Un Nabi Prophet Mohammed’s birthday (PBUH): expected between 18 and 21 October, 2021, to be confirmed according to the moon calendar* 🌗
🗓️ Commemoration Day: 30 November, 2021 (in 2020 was on December 1st)
🗓️ The national holiday in UAE is on December 2nd and lasts two days.
🌗 Islamic festivities may differ as the exact dates are subject to moon sighting
Opening times in Abu Dhabi
According to religious tradition, Friday is the holy day, when offices and shops are usually closed or reopened after 3 p.m.
Saturday is a “half-holiday”, when offices are closed but shops are open.
Most shops in Abu Dhabi are open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., often without break.
Some supermarkets in Abu Dhabi, like the Adcoops Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society, are open from 8 a.m. to midnight or 24/24.
In Abu Dhabi are open 24/24 at least a dozen pharmacies. For a complete list, you can see the official portal of the Government of Abu Dhabi, using the filter “Open 24 hours”.
Banks are closed on Friday, open on Saturday and Sunday.
During Ramadan, the shops are closed during the day, reopen one or two hours before sunset and stay open all night.
The restaurants are closed or offer a takeaway service during the hours of day and re-open after sunset.
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