Alongside the important Islamic dates of Eid and Ramadan, the UAE, or more specifically Dubai, hosts a number of international events and festivals that reflect its rich culture and modern, flamboyant way of life. Take, for example, the Al Marmoum Camel Racing in February, or the Dubai World Cup - a real millionaires’ playground.
January 1-February 1 2016
The Dubai Shopping Festival is one month of retail heaven, which really kicks of the new calendar year in style. Alongside bargains on electronics and clothes, this government-organized festival includes street shows, mini films festivals, international fashion shows and fireworks over the iconic Dubai harbor.
1 Jan-late March annually
Starting in January and concluding on the last Saturday of March, the Dubai World Cup Carnival provides a great spectacle for avid punters and horse racing enthusiasts. The international racing event is in its 12th year and the bill typically features a total of 32 races with both Thoroughbred and Purebred Arabian horses.
The three-day Al Marmoum Camel Racing Festival in February is a chance to see a real show of Emirati culture. One of the oldest sports in the region, this is an unforgettable experience. Expect cheering fans, huge TVs documenting the action, scorching desert heat, and mini robot jockeys (a modern adaptation to this long tradition).
March 16-19 2016
The four-day 'Art Dubai' is one of the most popular international art fairs in the MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia) region. Now in its eighth year, it has slowly been building a reputation as one of the leading events that showcases contemporary art and provides a global meeting opportunity for artists and art enthusiasts.
May 23 2015
To see the traditional, aesthetically stunning ‘Dhow’ boats in action, your best bet is to catch over one hundred of them in action at the annual Al Gaffal event. Beginning at Sir Bu Nair, about 50 miles off the coast, the eight-hour race comes to a spectacular finish at the Mina Seaway, Dubai International Marine Club.
July 6-8 2016
Eid in Dubai really brings together the region’s diverse and multicultural community to celebrate this important religious festival in harmony. The government organizes some excellent events and activities for all ages and all tastes, including food stalls, shows and fireworks for up to four days.