UAE: Is Eid Al Fitr 2023 on Friday or Saturday? Astronomical centre issues clarification

Depending on when the Islamic festival is, residents will get a four- or five-day break

By Sahim Salim and Ruqayya AlQaydi

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Published: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 12:28 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 10:37 PM

After a month of fasting, UAE residents are now looking forward to the year’s first long weekend to celebrate Eid Al Fitr. The only question is how long it will be, as depending on when the crescent Moon is sighted, the break will be for four or five days.

The UAE’s moon-sighting committee will meet on Thursday, April 20, to determine whether Eid is on Friday, April 21; or Saturday, April 22. If Eid is on Friday, residents will get a four-day break from Thursday till Sunday. If on Saturday, the break will be for five days —Thursday to Monday.

Islamic months last for 29 or 30 days, depending on when the Moon is sighted. Multiple astronomical centres had earlier said that their calculations suggest the holy month of Ramadan will last for 29 days this year. The likely day of Eid, therefore, is Friday, according to astronomical calculations.

The International Astronomical Centre has issued a clarification after a part of its tweet suggested Eid could fall on Saturday since “it’s not possible to spot the Moon” on Thursday in many areas.

“Some media outlets have published a partial news attributed to the International Astronomical Centre, stating that Eid Al Fitr will be on Saturday. We would like to clarify that the International Astronomical Centre is not an announcing authority, but rather a scientific centre that provides astronomical information,” Mohammad Odeh, director of the centre, told Khaleej Times.

He clarified that the Moon can be spotted with a telescope from parts of the Islamic world on Thursday. “In most Islamic countries, we expect Eid to fall on Friday, unless it’s cloudy on Thursday and the Moon cannot be spotted. Generally, there are 90 per cent chances that Eid is on Friday,” he explained.

This means that a four-day Eid break is most likely for UAE residents.

“The original article contained many details showing the conditions for sighting the crescent Moon in various countries around the world, based on which the beginning of the month can be determined by the relevant authorities. It should be noted that the criteria for the start of the month in the Islamic world are diverse,” he said.

The article meant to stress that Eid Al Fitr dates may differ in Islamic countries, he added.

Officially, Eid holidays are from Ramadan 29 to Shawwal 3 for Emiratis and expatriates working in government departments and private companies. Irrespective of when the Moon is spotted, the holiday begins on Thursday, April 20 (Ramadan 29).


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