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Eid al-Fitr is a special day among families and friends throughout the Islamic world. This two-to-three-day festival takes place immediately following the end of the month of Ramadan and is the most significant and joyous observance of the Islamic faith. 

In essence, Eid al-Fitr presents the faithful with the opportunity to thank God for having been granted the strength and conviction to complete the obligatory fast and obey His commandments during the holy month of Ramadan. By having done so, Muslims rejoice in returning to a state of fitra (innocence/purity), having been pardoned of all their transgressions thus starting life anew.

As we prepare to welcome the holiest of months, here are the dates, public holidays and observances in welcoming and celebrating Eid al-Fitr 2021 in the UAE.    

Eid Mubarak! 

Eid al-Fitr dates and calendar 2021

Determining the date of the Eid al-Fitr depends on the sighting of the crescent moon (a day after the new moon). As such, the process of determining the date of the Eid al-Fitr can only be performed under the cover of night. Should the crescent moon not be spotted, Ramadan continues for another day. 

This year, Eid al-Fitr in the UAE is expected to be upon us starting from the evening of 12 May and will last until the evening of 13 May 2021.

Eid al-Fitr in the UAE

In the days leading up to Eid al-Fitr, Emirati housewives dust and clean their houses. The day begins early with morning prayers, either at home or at a nearby mosque. At lunchtime, the Arabs feast on traditional dishes such as ouzi, chicken machboos, and desserts like luqaimat.

In the past, on the first day of Eid, Bedouin men would shoot their guns in the air as an expression of joy, and this tradition is still carried on in some parts of the country. Men also perform popular traditional dances, including Al Razfah.

Giving gifts and donations is also an indivisible part of the festival. Emiratis visit families and friends and exchange presents as a sign of affection. Children are also given sweets, gifts or money as a toke. It is also customary to give zakat al-fitr to the needy, so that everyone can celebrate the festival with gaiety.

During this time, the malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi come to life with shoppers searching for bargains and discounts. Eid-special offers and flash sales are put up by almost all shopkeepers in the spirit of the festival.