The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar which has 12 lunar months in a year of about 354 days.
Because this lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, Islamic holy days (public holidays), although celebrated on fixed dates in their own calendar, actually shift 11 days earlier each successive solar year.
It also means that the exact date of a public holiday cannot be determined until approximately a week before the event.
Generally, this means that planning to take a long weekend away is not an opton, although some people try to do this anyway. Take a look at what happens when they announce the date of the public holiday, and then change it at the last minute. I always find the Comments underneath the articles interesting. Parfticulary as the media here is very ‘conservative’ in expressing its views of government activities.
Holiday change angers workers
By Wafa Issa Staff Reporter
Dubai: Residents working in the private sector feel that the shift of the holiday marking the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) birthday from Monday to Saturday is “discriminatory” as it strips them of a holiday that those in the public sector will enjoy.
Malcolm Kemp, a manager at an Abu Dhabi-based telecommunications company who has his weekends on Fridays and Saturdays, said: “Again, the poor private sector is stitched up regarding the forthcoming public holiday. The decision discriminates between the public and private sector. The Ministry of Labour is sadly out of touch if it assumes that most people in the private sector only have Friday off.”
While the public sector will celebrate the holiday on Sunday, the ministry had announced that, for the private sector, the holiday would fall on Monday. But a circular issued by Minister of Labour Saqr Gobash on Sunday shifted the holiday to Saturday.
Some in the private sector have a one-day weekend, which falls on Friday, while others have a two-day weekend that includes Saturday. Those who have a two-day weekend would therefore miss out on the holiday if it falls on a Saturday.
Gobash had earlier told Gulf News that the change had been made for practical reasons.
“We did not want to cause an interruption between the public and private sectors, so we decided to change the holiday by connecting the weekend with the holiday,” Gobash said.
Asked why the holiday was moved to a Saturday rather than a Sunday, given that many companies in the private sector have their weekends on Friday and Saturday, Gobash said: “As far as I know, the majority of companies in the private sector have only one day off, which is Friday. (Sophie: This is news to me! Everyone I know has Friday and Saturday off for the week-end.) Having the holiday on Sunday would have caused another interruption…” Gobash said.
Ganesh Prabu, a manager at a service company who also has two-day weekends, said the ruling “is a glaring example of discrimination between the public and private sector employees. It is unfair just to give the public sector a connected holiday, while we in the private sector get deprived of the holiday”.
However, Mohammad Omar, a sales engineer at a contracting company who only has Friday off, said: “I am happy that I will have Saturday off this week because I am always missing out on my friends’ gatherings as they all have two-day weekends”.
Khuram Anees, an employee of a consultancy firm, said that the holiday should be held on its official date regardless of what day of the week it is out of respect for religious occasions.
However, Dr Omar Al Khateeb, Assistant Director-General for Islamic Affairs in Dubai, told Gulf News that according to Islamic tradition it is not compulsory to have a holiday on the date marking the Prophet’s birth. What is important is that it is a collective celebration of the Prophet’s birth and a manifestation of love and respect for the Prophet.
“Although it does not really matter if the holiday is given a day or two in advance or after the actual occasion, it is still preferred [that it be held] on the same date of the Prophet’s birth as the feeling would be much stronger,” said Al Khateeb.
Being a Muslim i wana say that its an Islamic holiday its should be on that date because those Muslim who wants have to pray
Private sector holiday on Saturday is not justified as the occassion of birth of Prophet falls two days after.
I believe holiday should be observed on the actual day. How can one alter such a thing?
It’s not a question of holiday but to perform the precious ocassion on the correct day. Milad is on Sunday not Saturday.
I think it’s a bad idea by changing the date, because it causes confusion. The date should be decided first before declaring it.
It felt nice when i heard the holiday news on Sunday. We would have three days Holiday. I was planning to visit my country and meet my family. But i think we should take care of those private sector people who have only Friday off. So good luck to you guys…..Happy Weekend….:)
I am happy for the 2-day rest. i only have friday as off-day to do all chores, thus, i really appreciate this saturday off. we cannot please everybody but i think the authority has just addressed what is good for the majority.
Well, I am a working mother, my son’s nursery is off on sunday and i have to work, i dnt have anyone to take care of my child!!! and this is always the case, The purpose of a holiday is to celebrate the occasion and by this it lost its meaning
Work on Saturday, Jobless…etc all this is fine and understood!!! However, we were told earlier that the holiday was on Sunday and planned accordingly to travel, visits..etc. Its not fair to take that away. I think that once a holiday is announced then it should be carried as stated without change.
Honestly, I am not at all in favour of moving the holiday from its original date i.e. Monday to Saturday. It makes no sense to celebrate any Islamic occasion before the original day.
I couldn’t agree more! You can’t have a day off for one sector and not the other.
It surely became an unfair practice between public and private sector. Both sectors? employees are working. We rarely get holidays, and we are not even getting those. People are staying with infants, who are in day care all day. We were thinking we would be getting an off, but even that isn?t there now!
Actual birth date of Prophets Mohammad?s (PBUH) birthday is on 12th of Rabi Al Awal h. corresponding to 9th March. The holiday should be on the same day otherwise there should not be a holiday at all.
Holiday should be given on the day of the occasion not before or after, if the holiday is on Saturday, people who already have a holiday are unhappy, and if the holiday is on Sunday everyone is happy.
It is a good decision. Most of the private companies only have Fridays off, so let them celebrate the Saturday off.
Holiday should be on the actual date for both Public and Private sector to preserve the original spirit and historic value of the occasion.
It seems that Saturday given as a private holiday is really good because as I know, a majority of the private sector companies have only Friday off, so it would be good for them to have Saturday off as well. Those who have Saturday as there week off, please excuse us because we also want to celebrate with our family a 2 day weekend.
I think the change of date for the holiday in celebration for the birthday of Prophet Mohammad is not reasonable unless it can interfere with more important celebration or occasion. I think we should celebrate on his exact birthday date as a sign of RESPECT.
The holiday should be held on the day it should be (The prophet’s birthday). How can they change such a thing. It’s totally bizarre and discriminating to me!
Nonsense! I am currently working as a Design Engineer, for the Dubai Metro Line. Those from the private sector working in the construction industry usually rest on Fridays. A lot of times, we even work on Fridays. Now look, who is out of touch? Don’t be a frog in a well.
It is unfortunate as many countries bank on the commercial aspect of public holidays to boost spending with in the economy. I would think that the global crisis would lead authorities in the UAE to decide otherwise.
I only have Fridays off and I’m glad to be getting an extra day off this month. And I have to agree with the authorities in saying that most private sectors do have only Friday as an off.
You can’t expect the government to please everyone. If you keep Sunday as a holiday, those who work on Saturday will have an interruption in their work week. If you keep Saturday off, those who already have a Fri/Sat weekend will complain. With a majority of the working population having only 1 day weekends, let them enjoy Saturday off. Those of us with 2 day weekends shouldn’t complain!