Muslim Holidays That Might Have An Impact On Your Travels In Jordan

Special Islamic Days in 2017 - Information for Travellers

It is worth doing a little research on Muslim Holidays and Observances when planing a trip to the Middle East since these special days can have an impact on your travel.

Islamic holidays in Jordan

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The common thing about muslim holidays is that they never fall on the same day of the year - in the sense of a "Gregorian" year.

As you might know, countries of the Middle East use two kind of calendars:

the Gregorian calendar, that is used worldwide, is a solar calendar, with 365-366 days in a year.

For example, the validity of your visa to Jordan may be 1 month according to the Gregorian calendar, and you will also have to use Gregorian dates when booking a hotel.

On the other hand, muslim holidays are celebrated according to the Islamic or Hijri calendar, which is a lunar calendar with 354-355 days in a year.

One lunar month lasts from new moon to the next new moon and the exact start of the month of Ramadan, for example, is based on the sight of the moon.

Most Important Muslim Holidays in 2018

Ramadan: This is the name of the 9th month of the islamic calendar, the month of Fasting. In 2017 it is expected to be between 27th May and 24th June (+/- 1 day according to the actual sight of the moon).

Eid Al Fitr: This is the first day of the 10th month, Shawwal and marks the end of Ramadan. In 2018 it is expected on the 14th June and usually followed by a cca. one-week public holiday.

Hajj: The days of the pilgrimage to Mecca will be between 19th and 24th August 2018. These are not public holidays in Jordan but since the Hajj generates lots of passing traffic in Aqaba and the on the Nuweiba-Aqaba ferry, it is worth taking into consideration when planning your trip.

Eid Al Adha: The Festival of Sacrifice will be held on 22nd August in 2017. It is ususaly accompanied by a cca. one week school holiday so Aqaba gets very crowded during this period.

Hijri New Year: 11st September 2018, public holiday.

The Prophet's Birthday: 20th November 2018 public holiday.

Shall I come to Aqaba during Eid Al Fitr or Eid Al Adha?

Being Jordan's only seaside resort, Aqaba is usually jam-packed with local tourists (ie. people living in the North of the country) during Eid times which are also school holidays.

That means all the hotels are fully booked, rental apartments ditto, the public beaches are crowded and there are regular traffic jams in the downtown.

Goverment offices (ASEZA, for example), banks and the post office are closed for a couple of days, too.

Should you decide to come and share the joy of Eid with the Jordanians, be prepared for the above mentioned inconveniences and make your hotel reservation well in advance.

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