Islamic holidays are based on the lunar calendar and they vary by a few days every year. The two official Muslim holidays are Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice and Eid-al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Other holidays such as Mawled, the birth of the Prophet, Lyalat al-Isra, the ascension of the prophet, and Muharram, the Muslim New Year, are celebrated individually as a matter of personal choice.

The Islamic calendar is based on the beginning of the Islamic era, the year of Hijrah, during which the Prophet Mohammed emigrated from Mecca to Medina. The prophet's departure occurred on July 16, 622 A.D. Hijrah years are lunar; one month is the cycle between the two moons. Every 32 Gregorian solar years, which is the method used in the western world, are approximately equal to 33 Muslim lunar years.

National Day is observed on September 23 each year to mark the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into one state.

Did you know?

Most of the Western nations use the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the 365.242 days it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun. An extra day every fourth year or leap year, uses up the extra time. The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar year. One lunar month contains 29.5 days. A 12-month year contains 354 and 11/30ths of a day. Over a period of 30 years, there are 11 leap years of 355 days. Since each Islamic year begins 10 or 11 days earlier than the previous one relative to the solar calendar, the Islamic calendar is not related to the seasons. The same festivals and holidays, therefore, occur in different seasons in different years.

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The Saudi weekend is on Thursdays and Fridays. Fridays are observed as holidays in Saudi Arabia, as in all Islamic nations.