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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 07, 2023
Headline for 5 Best Abu Dhabi Festivals & Events to Attend-A glimpse into the local culture and entertainment of the exotic Gulf city
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Best Abu Dhabi Festivals & Events to Attend-A glimpse into the local culture and entertainment of the exotic Gulf city

Ultra-modern towers, swanky shopping centres and mind-blowing opulence define the capital city of the UAE. Besides everything extravagant and ritzy that Abu Dhabi is known for, the city also plays host to a score of festivals that offer you a glimpse into its local culture and entertainment.


Eid al-Fitr - A holiday of breaking the fast

Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, is celebrated by Muslims all over the world and the Islamic city of Abu Dhabi is no exception. After a strenuous month of fasting, the three-day celebration is something that the entire city eagerly looks forward to. It's that time of the year, when the bustling metropolis mellows out — families and friends coming together, treating themselves to assortments of traditional food platters, exchanging gifts and nothing but complete bliss is what's in the air.


Abu Dhabi Festival – The biggest, grandest and the most eventful

Dating back to 2004, the annual Abu Dhabi Festival is, without a doubt, the biggest, grandest, and most eventful in the whole of the UAE. Organised by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the multidisciplinary event is about inspiring Abu Dhabi's art and cultural interests whilst strengthening global cross-cultural relations. Artists, creators, and creatives of diverse interests are gathered at the month-long event, putting on a real spectacle for the senses.


UAE National Day - a celebration of the making of the UAE

The 2nd of December is a crucial day on the calendar for all emiratis, not just in Abu Dhabi but all across the UAE. The national holiday marks nothing but the unification of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates. It was on 2nd December 1971, the states of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Al-Ain, Umm al-Quwain, and Sharjah came together and unified to form the UAE. Come the 2nd of December every year, celebrations are thrown nationwide, where the striking fireworks that take over the skies of Abu Dhabi are the pinnacle of the celebration.


Al Dhafra Festival - a celebration of the proud Bedouin heritage

Despite ultra-modern architecture, sleek supercars and mind-blowing extravagance defining the modern-day UAE, emiratis are never forgetful of their ancient heritage. Descendants of the nomadic Arab tribe of Bedouin, emiratis are incredibly proud of their Bedouin culture and have dedicated the Al Dhafra Festival as a celebration of the bygone tradition. Countless camels — a crucial cultural symbol of Bedouins — are gathered from all over the country, putting on a score of events, including camel races and a camel beauty contest.


Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival - a striking cultural spectacle

Named in honour of the first-ever president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, this striking cultural spectacle is the perfect opportunity for anyone outside the UAE to get a glimpse into the fascinating culture and heritage of all seven states that make up the UAE. After a day of cultural savouring, vacationing tourists could retreat to one of the finest 5-star hotels in Abu Dhabi, including the likes of Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.