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Public Holidays & Calendar

 

 

Saudi Arabia PUBLIC HOLIDAYS and CALENDARPublic Holidays and CalendarSaudi Arabia PUBLIC HOLIDAYS and CALENDAR

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia uses the Islamic (Hijrah) calendar, in reference to the migration (Hijrah) of Prophet Muhammad and his companions from Makkah to Madinah on Monday the 1st of Rabi Al-Awal, corresponding to 13 September 622 AD. The Hijrah year has 12 lunar months and consists of 354 days (see appendix XV for the calendar of 1417 H., corresponding to 1996-1997 AD). Date writing begins with the day first, then the month, then the year. Since Hijrah is the official calendar in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is advisable to use it in your official documents and correspondence. The Hijrah date is usually followed by the Gregorian date; e.g., 1 Muharram 1417 H., corresponding to 18 May 1996, or 1/1/1417 H., corresponding to 18/5/1996.

There are two great festivals in an Islamic year, both observed by the Saudi private sector as well as government. The first is "Eid Al-Fitr" (the feast of the breaking of the fast of the month of "Ramadan"), which lasts for three days. However, "Eid Al-Fitr" holiday is customarily ten days long at the end of the month of "Ramadan" and the beginning of the month of "Shawal.". "Eid Al-Adha" (the Feast of Sacrifice, which commemorates Abraham’s intention to sacrifice his son Ishmael in fulfillment of God’s order) is the second of the two great festivals, and lasts for four days. The holiday of "Eid Al-Adha" is also a ten day holiday usually extending from the fifth to the fifteenth day of the month of "Thul-Hijja." It is observed by the government and private sector for the performance of Hajj (the Islamic religious pilgrimage to Holy Makkah). However, most of the Saudi private sector observes the two holidays for three and five days respectively.

Saudi National Day is September 23rd.

 

BUSINESS HOURS

Government offices are open Saturday through Wednesday from 7:30 a.m., to 2:30 p.m. The official weekend holiday for the government and some private businesses is Thursday and Friday. Private business working hours vary but are generally from 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. to noon, and from 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. General banking hours are from 8:00 a.m. to noon, and from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Markets and shops are open from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., with a rather long lunch break.

During the month of "Ramadan", working hours are reduced. Government offices open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and private sector working hours are shortened to about six hours a day.

 

TIME ZONE

All the Kingdom is under one time zone. Saudi Arabia is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 3).

 

 

 

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