Saudi Arabia has a handful of special occasions and holidays, so if you would like to visit during these periods, it is good to be prepared as most of them vary year to year due to the lunar calendar.
: During the holy month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Most restaurants close during the day, however hotels will offer dining options and certain kiosks around the city offer takeaways. Most restaurants open for iftar, the evening meal during which Muslims break their fast after Maghrib, or sunset prayer. The start of Ramadan varies each year depending on the sighting of the new moon.
Eid Al Fitr
: To celebrate the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the Eid Al Fitr. Eid Al Fitr in AlUla is a time for family and friends to come together and enjoy meals, celebrations, and many local activities. During the first three of five days, most businesses remain closed and restaurants may have shorter operating hours.
Eid Al Adha: The second of the Eid celebrations is known as the greater Eid. A celebration a day after the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage, it falls on the tenth day in the final month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. As the dates of Hajj also vary slightly year to year, so does the actual day of Eid Al Adha. Five days before and after Eid most businesses close and restaurants have shorter opening hours.
Saudi National Day: This special day celebrates the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is held annually on 23 September. All businesses close for this national holiday, however the day is celebrated with many special events and activities around the country, including AlUla's Azimuth Festival
Saudi Founding Day: This public annual holiday takes places on 22 February and commemorates the foundation of the Saudi state in 1727 by Imam Mohammed bin Saud. Expect festivities across several days with the likes of parades, concerts and other special celebrations.