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UAE Holidays 2021: When is the next long weekend? And will it affect schools’ winter break?

UAE Holidays 2021: When is the next long weekend? And will it affect schools’ winter break?

by Tabitha BardaOctober 25, 2021

As schools and families get back into the swing of things after the October long weekend, minds inevitably turn to when the next long weekend will be. And it’s no wonder, since the next UAE holiday in 2021 is set to be just over a month away.

The UAE announced the official public holidays for both public and private sectors for 2021 and 2022 at the end of last year.

According to the announcement made by official media service UAE Barq, parents can gear up for a bumper long weekend in early December this year.

The December long weekend is currently expected to start on Wednesday 1 December for Commemoration Day, followed by Thursday 2 December and Friday 3 December for UAE National Day.

This could mean a public holiday of four days off from Wednesday to Saturday for those who usually have a weekend over Fridays and Saturdays.


However, these dates need to be confirmed officially closer to the time, so don’t go booking anything too extravagant without factoring in that it could change.

Will the long weekend affect schools’ winter break?

The December long weekend is slated to be 1 to 3 of December 2021, which falls in the penultimate week before schools break up for the Winter vacation.

According to the Ministry of Education’s calendar, schools across the UAE will have their final day the following week on Thursday December 10, before breaking up for three weeks over winter.

While there have been reports of parents speculating on social media that the National Day long weekend in early December could mean that the schools’ winter break gets extended to start earlier, this is not what the official calendars currently say.

A very special celebration

This year’s National Day on 2 December 2021 is particularly special, as it is will mark 50 years exactly since the UAE was first formed.

Combined with the fact that Dubai is also hosting the world at Expo, there has been unofficial speculation that the National Day celebrations could extend beyond what is predicted in official calendars.

However, while all UAE public holidays are subject to change and need to be confirmed by official government sources closer to the time, this seems unlikely.

The UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) sets the minimum number of school days in the year for all UAE public schools.

Schools that do not follow the MOE curriculum must have a minimum of 182 school days per academic year.

The MOE also stipulates certain academic holiday beginning and end dates that cannot be deviated from.

According to the MOE rules, Winter vacation must be 3 weeks, regardless of the curriculum being followed. These dates are set and cannot be changed. For the 2021 winter break, the MOE’s dates are as follows:

Thursday December 10 2021: All schools break up for Winter vacation

Sunday January 2 2022: All schools return after Winter vacation

The authority that oversees private schools in Dubai, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), now permits less divergence from the MOE academic calendar than it used to.

All public holiday dates are subject to change and need to be confirmed closer to the time, so we’ll let you know if anything changes as the announcements come.

Either way, it is certain that UAE parents and children will at least be able look forward to some exciting celebrations to mark 50 years of the UAE this year.

And on the run-up to the long weekend, why not book in for some winter fun at our amazing Festival of Schools, being held every weekend in November.

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Thursday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter.

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