Public Holidays & Ramadan
Sharjah has fixed holidays such as UAE National Day, as well as Islamic holidays that are subject to moon sightings, so their dates vary each year. The main Muslim festivals are Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and Eid Al Adha, which marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
For followers of Islam, the holy month of Ramadan is dedicated to piety and altruism. Muslims all over the world anticipate its arrival every year, waiting on the revelation of a new moon that signals the beginning of the month.
During this month, followers abstain from all food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Eating or drinking in public during the day is discouraged to all out of respect for the fasters. Muslims wake up at the crack of dawn (Suhoor) to eat and pray, and open their fast at sunset during the call of the Maghreb prayer (Iftar). The fast is broken by eating fresh dates, in line with the traditions of Prophet Muhammad.
Families and friends celebrate breaking of the fast over delicious meals, and shops and restaurants are open late into the evening hosting visitors. Certain foods like dates, Harees (a porridge of ground wheat and meat) and Threed (a goat-meat dish with fresh vegetables and local spices) are staple dishes enjoyed by Emirati families.
Charity, or zakaat, marks a core value during Ramadan. People sponsor tents to serve free meals at Iftar and donate charity to the needy.
The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid-al-Fitr, with the sighting of the new moon. Muslims wear new clothes and spend the holiday in the presence of friends and family, enjoying sweet treats, decadent meals and gifts. Eid-al-Fitr begins with a communal call to prayer, and is followed by emirate-wide celebrations, sales and excitement.
Eid-al-Adha, which translates to “Feast of the Sacrifice” is observed every year from the 10th day of Dhu Al Hijja, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. It commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command, and is is typically symbolised with the sacrifice of goat and sheep.The meat is then shared amongst friends, family and distributed amongst the poor. Like Eid-al-Fitr, Muslims celebrate in the company of their loved ones, attending prayers and taking part in festivities.
Since 2015, 30 November has been marked as a day of remembrance to mark the sacrifice of those who died for the UAE in the line of duty. This day and the following day (1 December) are national holidays.
2nd of December
UAE’s National Day, also a holiday, falls on 2 December and marks the UAE's formal nationalisation and the start of the federal unification of the emirates in 1971.