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United Arab Emirates > Culture and festivals > Events and festivals

Ramadan and Islamic festivals in Abu Dhabi 

The most important religious festival of the year is Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The precise dates are determined by the lunar calendar and by religious experts in Saudi Arabia who view the moon several nights in advance to confirm the official start date.  


Muslims commemorate the revelation of the first verses of the Holy Quran, abstain from food, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset, and then break their fast with family, with a traditional feast called iftar. Throughout Ramadan, hotels across Abu Dhabi host nightly, delicious iftar banquets for guests and non-guests. Shops close from 1.00pm until after iftar and then stay open until the early hours.  


During Ramadan, visitors to Abu Dhabi are expected to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public places during daylight hours. 


Eid Al Fitr is a holiday celebrated when the new moon is sighted after Ramadan. An occasion marked by feasting, exchanges of greeting and gift giving, this celebration continues for three days, although shops and private businesses may open after one or two.  


Eid Al Adha is celebrated 39 or 40 days after the first day of Eid Al Fitr. It represents the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage and lasts for approximately three days. The Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca. It is the world’s largest annual pilgrimage and the fifth pillar of Islam, an obligation that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.  


Other important festivals and holidays during the course of the year include the Islamic New Year, the Prophet Mohammed's birthday, the commemoration of the first divine revelation to the Prophet and the Prophet's ascension to heaven.  


The timing of Islamic festivals and holidays depends on the lunar calendar. Since a lunar month is shorter than a solar month, the calendar moves back by approximately 11 (or between 10 and 12) days per year.  


One important celebration that can be scheduled is that of UAE National Day – falling on December 2nd each year. Each emirate in the UAE comes alive with buildings bedecked with lights and the capital – Abu Dhabi city – is abuzz with free-to-attend celebrations often including open-air concerts and magnificent fireworks displays. All are welcome to join in.



Dubai Shopping Festival, January/February
the dubai shopping festival is held annually in december-february: it is one of the most popular events in dubai - this is the related page of wikipedia since the web site of the festival is not available at this time.
Dubai Desert Classic, February
the dubai desert classic is a golf tournament which takes place annually in february at the dubai creek golf & yacht club: like the abu dhabi golf championship, it is part of the european tour.
Dubai World Cup, March
the dubai world cup is a famous horse race: it is part of the dubai world cup night of races that is held annually in march at the new meydan racecourse in dubai (united arab emirates) and includes 5 other races.
Dubai Racing Club
official site of the dubai racing club at the meydan racecourse in dubai - includes information about the racing calendar, ticketing, dubai world cup, and more.
Dubai AirShow, November
dubai airshow is an air show that is held biennially held in dubai, united arab emirates - it runs from 13 to 17 november 2011 at airport expo.
Dubai International Film Festival, December
the dubai international film festival (diff) is an international film festival which is held annually in december at dubai, united arab emirates - founded in 2004.
Cultural events in Abu Dhabi
cultural events in abu dhabi: festivals, fairs, exhibitions, visual arts, performing arts, and more.
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, January
the abu dhabi golf championship is a golf tournament that is played annually at the abu dhabi golf club.
ADIHEX, Abu Dhabi, in September
the abu dhabi international hunting and equestrian exhibition (adihex) is an annual event thatis held in september at the abu dhabi national exhibition centre.
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
official site of the abu dhabi national exhibition centre, the largest exhibition venue in the middle east - includes the exhibitions calendar, visitor information, and more.
Abu Dhabi Film Festival, October
the abu dhabi film festival was established in 2007: it is held annually in october in abu dhabi.
Awafi Festival, Ras Al-Khaimah
awafi festival is held annually in ras al-khaimah, united arab emirates: it is a three week event held in december or january with a spectacular sand dune drive by the strongest 4-wheel drives of the country as the main attraction.

See also

United Arab Emirates > Pictures and travelogues

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United Arab Emirates : Events and festivals