Islamic Holidays

The Arab weekend falls on Thursday and Friday. The Arab equivalent of Sunday is Friday. The only non-religious festival is National Day which is celebrated on the 18th and 19th of November.

praying in the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

The Islamic calendar is lunar and made up of 354/355 days. Each year the Islamic calendar is 11 days "ahead" of the Western calendar. A lunar month has only 29 or 30 days. The Islamic calendar started with the emigration (hejira) of the Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Yatrib Medina on the 15th/16th July in 622 AD. To convert from hejira years to Christian Gregorian years follow this formula: take the Islamic year and subtract 1/34th and then add 622 (beginning of the Islamic calendar.)

Prophet‘s Birthday, a festival on the 12. Rabi al-awal (Feb 04, 2012)
Leilat al-Meiraj, a festival on 27. Rajah (Jun 17, 2012)
Eid al Fitr, four day festival beginning on the 1. Shewal, the end of Ramadan, starting Aug 19, 2012.
Ramadan (Jul 20, 2012 - Aug 19, 2012)
Eid al Adha, five day festival beginning on the 9. Dhu-l-Hiddia, traditional time of reflection and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) in the last month of the islamic calendar year, starting Oct 28, 2012.
New Year, a festival on the 1. Muharram  (Nov 15, 2012)

During the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan it is forbidden to eat, drink or smoke in public between the hours of sunrise and sunset. This does not apply to people who are ill or traveling, or children under the age of twelve. During this period the whole country becomes an alcohol free zone, including the hotels and the mini bars in the hotel rooms. The restaurants will not serve alcohol but are still open during the day for hungry non-Muslims, as are many of the grocery shops. Opening times begin later in the morning.

The exact beginning of the fasting month and the holidays are subject to local observations of the moon and are only definitively announced shortly in advance.

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