UAE Waits With bated Breath: Eid Al Adha Announcement on Hold

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Eid Al Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice,” is a highly anticipated public holiday in the United Arab Emirates. This year, however, residents are waiting with some degree of suspense for the official confirmation of its start date.

Eid Al Adha

The reason for this anticipation lies in the Islamic calendar’s reliance on lunar cycles to determine exact dates. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic Hijri calendar doesn’t perfectly align with the solar year. This means significant Islamic holidays like Eid Al Adha fluctuate in their placement on the Gregorian calendar.

Spotting the Crescent: A Crucial Step

Traditionally, the sighting of the crescent moon marks the beginning of a new Islamic month. In the UAE, the Emirates Astronomy Society plays a vital role in this process. Using advanced technology, astronomers diligently observe the moon for confirmation of the new month, Dhul Al-Hijjah, in this case.

So, When is Eid Al Adha?

As of June 7, 2024, the Emirates Astronomy Society hasn’t yet sighted the crescent moon. Their observations on June 6, despite utilizing cutting-edge technology, were unsuccessful. Based on these findings, the Society predicts that the Day of Arafat, a significant day preceding Eid Al Adha, will fall on Sunday, June 16. Consequently, the Eid Al Adha holiday would begin the following day, marking the start of a three-day public holiday in the UAE.

Following the Lead, But Waiting for Confirmation

Interestingly, Saudi Arabia’s supreme court announced the sighting of the crescent moon on June 6. This implies that Eid Al Adha in Saudi Arabia could potentially begin on June 17. While the UAE often aligns its Islamic holidays with Saudi Arabia, an official announcement from the UAE government is still awaited for definitive confirmation.

A Five-Day Break on the Horizon?

There’s a good chance that UAE residents will enjoy a five-day break for Eid Al Adha. Here’s why:

  • The predicted start of Eid Al Adha coincides with the weekend (Friday and Saturday).
  • The Emirates Astronomy Society forecasts that Thursday, June 20, will mark the end of the Hajj season.

Understanding Eid Al Adha

Eid Al Adha, celebrated during the final month of the Islamic calendar (Dhu al-Hijjah), commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. Muslims worldwide celebrate this occasion by attending prayers, offering sacrifices (typically of sheep, goats, or camels), and sharing meat with family, friends, and the less fortunate.

Public Holidays and the Islamic Calendar

The UAE, like many Muslim-majority countries, announces public holidays at the beginning of the Gregorian calendar year. However, due to the lunar nature of the Islamic calendar, these dates can only be confirmed closer to the actual holiday. This explains why the exact duration of the Eid Al Fitr break, for instance, wasn’t confirmed until late in Ramadan this year.

The Wait Continues

With the official announcement from the UAE authorities still pending, residents are advised to stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, the anticipation for this joyous occasion continues to build.

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