The UAE public holidays 2023 are out, and, as we start the new year, it’s time to get thinking about this year’s vacation plans – and how they fit in with the school term times.
There are 14 public holidays next year to mark in your calendar.
And a significant 10 of them look likely to fall on either a school day or workday, if you work a traditional Monday – Friday working week.
But how to they align with school term terms and vacation dates?
Here are the dates to jot in your diary…
UAE public holidays 2023 at a glance
- New Year’s Day: January 1 (Sunday)
- Eid al-Fitr: April 20, 21, 22 and 23 (Thursday – Saturday)
- Arafat Day: June 28 (Wednesday)
- Eid al-Adha: June 29, 30, 1 July (Wednesday – Friday)
- Islamic New Year: July 19 (Wednesday)
- The Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday: September 28 (Thursday)
- Commemoration Day: December 1 (Thursday)
- National Day: December 2, 3 (Friday, Saturday)
UAE public holidays 2023 by month, including school holidays and term times
New Year’s Day: 1 January. The first public holiday of 2023 – and the first day of the year – fell on a Sunday, so it didn’t impact the school week at all. UAE schoolchildren resumed a full week of learning after the Christmas break from Monday 2 January 2023.
No public holidays are scheduled for this month, but many schools choose to have a one-week mid-term break or ‘half term’ in mid-February (likely to be Monday 13 – Friday 17 February for many schools, but check your own school’s calendar. Discover exactly how to find your own school’s individual academic calendar online here.)
Ramadan*: Starts 23 March. The holy month of Ramadan is predicted to commence on Thursday 23 March and last for 29 days, ending on Thursday 20 April, according to astronomical calculations. Although there are no public holidays within Ramadan, the length of the school day and working day (for both private and public sector workers) is usually reduced by two hours throughout the holy month. This means parents will likely need to schedule for later drop-off and earlier pick-ups during this period.
Spring Break**: Starts 24 March. Most schools are likely to break up for Spring vacation on Friday 24 March, with two weeks off school from Monday 27 March – Friday 7 April inclusive. Some schools might take an extra week to make it a three-week break, running until 14 April.
Ramadan*: Ends 20 April: The first half of April will coincide with Ramadan in 2023. Although there are no public holidays within Ramadan, the length of the school day and working day (for both private and public sector workers) is usually reduced by two hours throughout, so school pick-up and drop-off times are likely to be affected.
Spring Break** continues. Ends 10 or 17 April. Most children will be off school during the first week of April for Spring Vacation. Schools will resume learning on either 10 April or 17 April, depending on whether they take two or three weeks off. Check with your own school’s academic calendar.
Eid Al Fitr*: Thursday 20 April. Eid Al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. It is likely to fall on Thursday 20 April and run until Saturday 23 April (dates subject to change), meaning a four-day long weekend for those who have a weekly Saturday and Sunday off, which might take parents by surprise as it will happen just a week or so after the start of the school Summer term.
There are no public holidays or school holidays scheduled for May, but there is a bumper long weekend to look forward to the following month…
Arafat Day*: Wednesday 28 June. This marks the second day of Haj (‘the pilgrimage’) and takes place approximately 70 days after the end of Ramadan. According to the Islamic calendar, this is likely to fall on Wednesday June 28, 2023 (dates to be confirmed by UAE government closer to the time). Combined with the subsequent Eid holidays, this could mark the start of a bumper five-day long weekend.
Eid-Al-Adha*: Thursday 29 June – Saturday 1 July. Happening straight after Arafat Day, Eid Al Adha marks the end of the pilgrimage, and this year is likely to fall on Thursday 29 June until Saturday 1 July (dates subject to change), making for a possible five-day weekend (including Arafat day), just one week before most schools break up for the summer holiday anyway in early July.
End of Summer Term: On Friday 7 July** many schools will break up for the summer vacation, although some schools will vary with the exact date.
Islamic New Year: Wednesday 19 July* looks like the most likely date for a public holiday in honour of Islamic or Hijri New Year (date may vary depending on moon sighting). This will affect private and public sector workers, but most children will already be off school for the summer holiday. It could possibly affect those children who are at summer camps.
There are no scheduled public holidays for August, and children will be off school for the summer holiday for the majority of this month. The UAE Ministry of Education has not yet confirmed the return-to-school date for the Academic Term 2023-2024, but in previous years children have returned to school on 30 August, which in 2023 will be a Wednesday.
Prophet Mohammad’s birthday*: 28 September. The Islamic celebration of Prophet Mohammad’s birthday (PBUH) is marked on the 12th day of Rabi Al Awwal in the Hijri calendar. This year the date is likely to fall on Thursday 28 September.
Half Term: 16-20 October. There are no scheduled public holidays this month, but many schools choose to have an October mid-term break halfway through the month (this is not part of the Ministry of Education academic calendar and is subject to authorisation from the UAE education regulators). Judging by previous dates, this would seem likely to be between 16 – 20 October 2023, but these dates will vary between schools, so check with your own school’s academic calendar.
There are no scheduled public holidays or school holidays this month.
Commemoration Day: 1 December (Thursday). Previously called Martyr’s Day, Commemoration Day is marked to remember those Emiratis who have given their lives fighting for the country. The date is officially on 30 November, but the public holiday is often shifted to 1 December, which enables it to link up with the National Day public holidays.
National Day: 2-3 December (Friday and Saturday). Combined with Commemoration Day, it looks likely the schools and both private and public sector workers will get a four-day long weekend over the National Day period.
End of the Winter Term: The UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) has not yet released its academic calendar for 2023-24, but in previous years it has been after the first or second week in December. For 2023 Friday December 9 looks like a likely last-day-of-term, but this can only be confirmed once the MOE has released its official academic calendar.
The above school holiday and academic-term dates are applicable for schools with August/ September start dates. Term dates for schools with academic years that commence in April are below.
Dubai private schools starting in April – Academic year 2022-2023
April 4, 2022 – Start of academic year
July 4, 2022 – Summer break begins
August 29, 2022 – Return from summer break
December 12, 2022 – Winter break begins
January 2, 2023 – Return from winter break
March 13, 2023 – March 31, 2023 – End of academic year.
These private schools can close any day from March 13 to March 31, 2023, subject to the school fulfilling the stipulated number of school days and receiving KHDA approval.
*All Islamic holidays are subject to confirmation by the UAE government after moon-sighting.
**Exact dates might vary between schools. Find the academic calendar for every private school in Dubai here.
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