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January

Dubai Shopping Festival
One of the biggest events of the year, electrifying the city with concerts, art exhibits, street performers, sport activities, amazing raffles and huge sales lasting for one month. Shopping centres have big sales and discounts, and there are rides and shops everywhere. There are massive fireworks displays each night. Don’t miss “Carpet Oasis” selection of over 100,000 exquisite handmade carpets from the Gulf region. Book hotels and flights well in advance as everything fills up rapidly. The festival changes dates each year between January, February or March and usually draws around 3 million shoppers.

February

Dubai Tennis Championship
The Dubai Tennis Championship is part of the ATP and WTA tennis tours. The yearly tennis tournament is held in February and March attracts the world’s top male and female players. More information visit the Dubai Tennis Championships official website at www.dubaitennischampionships.comFor further information on Dubai Open Tennis 2012 visit this website

March

Dubai Desert Classic
This PGA Golf Tournament is held at the luxurious Emirates Golf Course, the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. It attracts some of the top names in golf, international media and millions of television viewers around the globe.

Dubai International Jazz Festival
This lively and growing festival is held for three days across three stages by the lake in Dubai Media City. It attracts thousands of people and a multitude of talented international jazz bands.

Dubai World Cup
This exciting horse race attracts horses, jockeys, trainers and owners from all over the world to compete for one of horse racing’s richest purses. Held at Nad al-Sheba racetrack, Bur Dubai.

May

Nokia Abu Dhabi International Jazz Festival
This popular event attracts thousands of jazz fans and international jazz bands. Performances are held at sponsoring hotels. For more information: www.chilloutproductions.com

Dubai Formula F4 Powerboat Race
Watch the fastest boats in the world race to the finish line along the shores of Dubai.

June

Dubai Summer Surprises
This Dubai summer festival makes a valuable effort to ease the summer heat by offering all kinds of fun, games, music, art, food, prizes and sales from 21 June to 1 September throughout Dubai. The event is sponsored by a number of hotels, which offer a variety of discounted packages for visitors. One of the most popular areas of the festival is the Modhesh Fun City, located at the Dubai International Airport Expo. The official slogan for the event is “Big Fun For Little Ones”.Visit this website for further information about Dubai Summer Surprises

October

World Offshore Championship
An exciting UIM class 1 powerboat race is held in the waters off Dubai and Fujairah as it makes its way around the world.

UAE Desert Challenge
A high-profile and popular desert car, truck and motorcycle rally, the UAE Desert Challenge offers specific vantage points from which the public can watch the action.

December

National Day Festival
Cultural activities throughout the country celebrate this public holiday. The Dubai program includes concerts, music competitions, children’s theatre performances, fireworks, exhibitions, camel racing, a carnival, and traditional markets, cuisine and crafts all held at various venues. For schedule and show information, contact the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Phone: +(9714) 2821111.

Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive
This two day, four-wheel-drive, off-road jamboree from Dubai to Fujairah is popular with residents and tourists alike. Each day involves around four hours of driving, with marshals providing help and expertise. A wonderful opportunity to see the changing face of the desert and to spend the night at a desert campsite with great food and entertainment, including belly dancing. The rally ends at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah. Only 700 cars are allowed, so booking and car rental (if required) must be arranged well in advance. For information, phone the sponsor, Gulf News at 4 344 7100.

Dubai Sevens Rugby Tournament
Fluctuating Events
The Dubai Sevens is an annual rugby union sevens tournament held in Dubai, UAE. These events are scheduled according to the lunar Islamic calendar. The following events move forward by approximately 11 days each year.

Ramadan
Ramadan is the month during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, and feast from dusk until dawn. Many restaurants close and it is illegal for Muslims and non-Muslims to eat, drink or smoke in public. Alcohol is not served publicly at any time during Ramadan, except in Dubai. Shopping centres are open late into the night and the streets are crowded with people. A word of caution: try to avoid road travel just before dusk, as many Muslims hurry home to break their fast, accidents are quite common.

Eid Al Fitr
Eid Al Fitr is a three-day celebration following Ramadan. It is a festive family time during which Muslims do not fast, in fact, it is a time for feasting. The first day of Eid begins after dawn with prayers. Muslims gather in large outdoor areas for the first prayer of the day. Returning home from prayer, Muslims spend the day greeting friends and family. Homes are busy with visitors arriving throughout the day. Sweets, fruits, and snacks are offered to all and gifts are often given to children.

National Holidays

January 1: New Year’s Day
December 2: National Day The following events are public holidays, but exact dates change each year according to the lunar Islamic calendar: Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
The Hijri Year (Islamic New Year)
Al Mawlid Al Nabawi (Birth of Mohammed)
Lailat al Mi’raj (Ascension of Mohammed)

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