Public holidays in Saudi Arabia: How to plan your 2023 better

The new year may only be days old, but residents across Saudi Arabia are already getting their 2023 plans in the diary…

Having gotten used to a bit of downtime, many of us will already be looking ahead to our next extended break from work. But how long do we have to wait until the next one, and when will we get some well-earned time off this year?

Here are the dates for all the public holidays you need for your 2023 diary.

February 22: Saudi Foundation Day

Foundation Day is an official public holiday in Saudi Arabia on February 22 each year. The holiday was created in 2022 to commemorate the foundation of the First Saudi State in 1727 by Imam Muhammad bin Saud. Although he rose to power in 1727, the first Saudi state was established in 1977.

April 21 to 24: Eid Al-Fitr

Eid Al-Fitr is a holiday to mark the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal and the end of the month-long Ramadan, during which Muslims fast during daylight hours. However, the exact dates are dependent on the sighting of the moon. And if it does fall on Friday April 21, we’re likely to have a four-day weekend.

June 27: Arafat Day

The Day of Arafah is known as a very sacred and virtuous day for Muslims, which falls on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah of the lunar Islamic Calendar. It is the day the Prophet Muhammad gave his farewell sermon upon Mount Arafah to the many Muslims with whom he completed Hajj near the end of his life. It also marks the first day of Eid Al-Adha. The exact day is based on lunar sightings, but this year, it is expected to be on Tuesday June 27.

June 28 to 30: Eid Al-Adha

The celebrations of Eid Al-Adha begin a day after Arafat Day, concluding the pilgrimage to Makkah. Eid al-Adha lasts for three days and commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son. It will be observed on Dhul-Hijjah 10 to 12, which is likely to correspond from Wednesday June 28 to Friday June 30, depending on the sighting of the moon. Along with Arafat Day, we could potentially have a long six-day weekend.

September 23: Saudi National Day

Last but not least, here’s the last of the 2023 public holidays in the Kingdom – the Saudi National Day, which is marked annually on September 23. The holiday commemorates the establishment of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz in 1932. It falls on a Wednesday this year, so no long weekend there. But you can look forward to fireworks, parades packed with floats showcasing the highlights of each region, music and traditional outfits, and Saudi flags lining the streets.

Stay tuned to whatsonsaudiarabia.com for the official announcements.

Images: Social