UAE residents will mark the holy month of Ramadan from Thursday, March 23, fasting from dawn to dusk.
According to astronomical calculations, the ninth of the Islamic calendar will have 29 days and the Eid Al Fitr will be celebrated on Friday, April 1, 2023. Since the Eid holidays will start on the 29th of Ramadan (which falls on Thursday, April 20) as per the government announcement, people in the UAE will have a four-day break from Thursday, April 20 to Sunday, April 23.
This year, the holiest month in Islam will be different in many aspects as compared to the previous year, especially related to the easing of the Covid-19-related restrictions.
Here are the six ways that Ramadan will be different this year:
1. No Covid-19 restrictions
Despite easing most of the restrictions in 2022, some of the Covid-19 restrictions were put in place during Ramadan for the safety of the worshippers last year. Wearing of masks indoors and physical distancing of one metre were in place last year. For Tahajjud, no more than 45 minutes were allocated during the last 10 days of Ramadan. This year, all these restrictions have been removed for the worshippers.
2. Remote working
This year, the majority of the UAE’s public sector employees will work remotely.
The UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a directive whereby 70 per cent of federal employees will work remotely and 30 per cent in person on Fridays during Ramadan.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, also directed Dubai government entities to implement a remote working system.
Remote working has been announced for students in universities and public schools on Fridays. However, this will be carried out taking into account the dates of pre-determined physical exams.
3. Three-day weekend
On Tuesday, the government of Umm Al Quwain announced a three-day weekend for employees working in the public sector during the holy month, hence, they will be working from Monday to Thursday. Umm Al Quwain is the second emirate to announce a three-day weekend during Ramadan. Sharjah government adopted a three-day weekend in January 2022, when the whole country shifted to the new work-week module.
4. Shorter fasting hours
As the holy month moves back by around 10 days every year, people will be fasting for shorter hours. On Thursday, March 23, Fajr time will commence at 5.02 am and Maghrib will begin at 6.35 pm.
5. Cooler temperatures
As the holy month inches towards the winter season every year, people are expected to enjoy cooler temperatures this year as compared to last year.
6. School spring break
Starting March 27, schools in the UAE will have a two-week spring break during Ramadan. Most of the international curricula schools in the emirate will have spring break.
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