Top 10 Festivals in Dubai You Must Experience


We all have a picture of Dubai in our minds. All of us see it as a country with disciplined lives and immense wealth and luxury. A good country is that which is not only economically, but also culturally and traditionally sound. The traditions and cultures have been imbibed with some beliefs which are not just some rules and regulations but a way of life in itself.

Dubai is a staunch believer in the Islamic religion. Everything is always king-size here. May it be the lifestyle, architecture, automobile, you name it! Another striking feature of Dubai is that it not only celebrates Islamic festivals in grandeur, but also festivals of other religions. Let it be Diwali or Christmas everything is on a huge scale. It upholds all religions with due respect.

In this article, we are focused more on the festivals that are unique to Dubai. Some of them are religious and some are for a cause. These festivals are some of the biggest events in Dubai which attract people from around the world.

Below are a few of the biggest and the most popular festivals celebrated in Dubai. When you are planning on a vacation to this destination, it would be even more interesting if you plan it around any of the below festivals so that you not only get to see the destination but also feel what it is to celebrate like Dubai!

Dubai Festival List:

Festival Name

Festival DatePlace of Celebration

New Year

January 1st


Islamic New Year

August 23rd

(depending on the Islamic calendar)

City Wide

Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha

May 24th to 26th and July 3st to August 2nd respectively

 (depending on the Islamic calendar)

City Wide

Dubai WorldCup

Last Saturday of March

Meydan Racecourse, Dubai

Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif

October 28 or 29, 2020

(depending on the Islamic calendar)

City Wide

National Day FestivalDecember 2nd

City Wide

International Jazz Festival

Last week of February

Dubai Media City Amphitheatre

Awafi FestivalJanuary 23rd 

(Spring Month)

Ras al-Khaimah Desert

Emirates Airline Literature Festival

February first or Second Week

InterContinental Hotel

Dubai Shopping festival

Last week of December

Multiple shopping centers, City Wide

1.  New Year’s Eve:

Dubai always welcomes a New Year in the most spectacular way. Their celebration is always the front page news and headlines in all the channels. Every year’s celebration is different in some or another way. One definitely doesn’t need any piece of information on how this festival is celebrated in Dubai.

Fireworks and light shows, carnivals, and funfairs, setting world records of the celebratory events, leave no stone unturned to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The main attractions you should never miss on this day are, Light and fireworks show at the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain Fireworks at the Atlantis in Palm Jumeirah
Concerts, fireworks & glamorous shows at the Global Village, and elaborate parties and celebrations on multiple pivotal centers across the city.

2. Islamic New Year:

Known as Al-Hijra, The New Year in the Islamic Calendar. All the Islamic festivals are decided according to the different calendar called the Hijri calendar, The Lunar Islamic calendar. This day is the first day of Muharram, the first month of the calendar, considered the holiest month next to Ramadan.

This festival is usually celebrated in peace, just the opposite of the previous one. All the educational institutions, hotels, and other public places are shut down and a dry day is observed throughout the city. People make resolutions and leave the negativity behind and move towards positivity. This is a time for self-reflection rather than partying.

3.  Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha:

Eid Mubarak! Is what starts at the back of dawn of this most important day of the Muslim fraternity. The first day of the month of Shawwal, the 10th month of Lunar, Islamic Calendar. This is a period of great joy and merriment. The families meet up, throw up a feast given this is the day of breaking the fasting month of Ramadan. Putting on their new clothes, they exchange greetings, well wishes and presents and celebrate the festival in merriment.

This is an important festival in Dubai. Grand prayers are offered at home and in mosques. However, this whole festival depends on the sighting of a new moon. And if the moon is not sighted as predicted then the festival will be celebrated the following day.

Eid Al Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, is considered to be holier among the two, the other festival being Eid Al Fitr. This festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the auspicious last month of the Lunar calendar, which is also the month in which people take up the pilgrimage to Hajj.

There is a story of trust and faithfulness behind celebrating this festival. This is a story of Ibrahim being tested for ultimate loyalty towards God by sacrificing his own son, Ishmael. This day is observed by giving a sheep as a sacrifice to God. 

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4. Dubai World Cup:

Festival that tourists should never miss! The World Series of Horse Racing is what it is officially called as. This is known to be one of the World’s richest horse races with total prize money worth a whopping $12 Million. It is a thoroughbred horse race that has been held as part of the Dubai Worldcup Night of Races since 1996.

Held annually on the last Saturday of March, Worldcup Night is a series of eight Thoroughbred horse races and one Purebred Arabian race held annually at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. The event currently offers purses totaling $35 Million. It is the most anticipated horse racing event in the world where people are highly enthusiastic with the best of their wardrobes. Situated in the Meydan Grandstand, it provides picturesque views of the racecourse and the Dubai skyline which makes it the perfect host.
So don’t miss this race if you are around during March!

5.  Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif:

Also known just as Mawlid, it is the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet is revered by Muslims as the final messenger sent by God to spread the Abrahamic faith to the world and to non-Muslims, he is considered the founder of Islam. It is celebrated worldwide and is a public holiday too.

Some communities even conduct open-air celebrations with enormous and colorful parades to show their love for the prophet. They share birthday cakes at the end of the celebrations and also distribute meals to all, even to non-Muslims. And in respect to the prophet, this day is observed as a ‘dry day’. There is also a tradition of dawning the finest of clothes and cutting lemon and orange tree leaves while paying obeisances to the Prophet.

This grand birthday celebration is one that you should not miss witnessing while in Dubai.

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6.  National Day Festival:

One of the flamboyantly celebrated festivals in Dubai Is The National Day celebration. On this day in 1977, 7 Emirates got nationalized by coming together to form the present United Arab Emirates. All the important monuments of National Importance are decorated with lights and fireworks in the evening.

Especially in Dubai, this day is commemorated by splendid events that will be organized throughout the City. This is one of the biggest events in Dubai, where almost all of the landmark monuments are opened for the public and have attractive offers. Amazing entertainment shows are arranged at The Burj Khalifa, The La Mer Beach, Global Village, etc hence making this one of the best festivals celebrated in Dubai. Plan your vacation during the time of this festival and enjoy Dubai in all its glory!

7.  International Jazz Festival:

For all the music lovers out there, a big shout-out! This would be like a dream festival for all who are in favor of Jazz and Pop. International music legends are invited to play on this floor. Conducted in the Dubai Media Amphitheatre, this festival is one of its kind in the whole of the UAE region.

The number of people increases exponentially each year to catch a glimpse of their favorite superstar up there, in front of their eyes. A definite crowd-puller from all across the globe, this is one of those festivals celebrated in Dubai that showcases the vibrant and entertaining face of this destination.

Note: Book tickets at the earliest to avoid any kind of unpleasantries.

8.  Awafi Festival:

Conducted on the scorching deserts of Ras al-Khaimah, this is one of the most unique festivals in the World. Celebrating the union of the nations and in terms of keeping the traditions alive, this festival is celebrated with a host of events, competitions, and activities.

The most attractive event organized during this festival is the scaling of the Desert and its sand dunes with their vehicles. There are many stalls, exhibitions, food courts, and much more that will be set up specially, for this day. Dubbed to be one of the best UAE Festivals, It would be a great opportunity to understand Dubai’s culture and heritage if you plan your vacation around this festival.

9. Emirates Airline Literature Festival:

Climbing up the ladder of the Dubai Festival List is this International Lit Fest held in the Intercontinental Hotel each year. Launched in the year 2009, this festival has grown exponentially over the years.

It hosts more than 50,000 people per year. With 200 and more sections and innumerable acclaimed literature, personalities gather here and also interact with the public. There are multiple events conducted here as well.

Go ahead, meet all your favorite authors and other personals from the amazing and magical world of literature.

10. Dubai Shopping Festival:

The most famous on the Dubai Festival List in the last! Who doesn’t like shopping? All will definitely be up with window surfing at least. The City of Gold, Dubai is known for its astonishing shopping complexes. And these in themselves have become a magnetic tourist spot.

Rightly planned during New Year’s Eve, this festival is a city-wide celebration. There is no particular venue for this festival. Given the wide variety of shopping options, one gets in Dubai, this festival is spread across all the shopping venues in the city. People travel from across the world to shop during this time. All the major brands from Home appliances to the most fashionable attires, everything is available at a major festive discount.

As it is the atmosphere will be fully charged by the dreamy shopaholics, and to add to this rock concerts, fireworks, and other entertainments are arranged on the venues. This would be one of the best Dubai Festivals that you can plan your vacation around as the much-awaited New Year’s Eve is just right around the corner!

Final Thoughts:

All being said and done, festivals are the times that bring people together. Everyone is always happy and excited about festivals like these. Though not all the festivals celebrated in the city of gold are religious ones, there are some that are only for the fun and entertainment of it. However, the main goal of peace, happiness, and prosperity is achieved in celebrating these festivals, anyhow!