Arafat Day to take place on August 20
Public sector to get a week's break for Eid Al Adha
The public sector will get a week-long break for Eid Al Adha this year with the government announcing a five-day holiday from Sunday, August 19, to Thursday, August 23.
Employees of ministries and federal departments will resume work on August 26, after the regular Friday-Saturday weekend, according to a Cabinet directive announced on Saturday.
Holidays for the private sector have not been declared yet.
The Cabinet's announcement came after the Saudi Supreme Court said the Islamic month of Dhu Al Hijjah would begin on August 12, meaning Eid Al Adha will fall on August 21.
The court announced the start of the final month of the Islamic calendar after witnesses testified to seeing the crescent moon at sunset on Saturday.
Accordingly, Arafat Day, the 9th day of Dhu Al Hijjah, will fall on August 20, and Eid Al Adha begins the next day.
Eid is a time when families and friends come together to celebrate, usually over a meal.
It is customary for a family to have a goat or sheep butchered at an abattoir and share the meat between themselves, their relatives and the underprivileged.
This tradition is informed by the Quran, which tells of how God asked prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith. As Ibrahim prepared to submit to God's will, the devil tried to dissuade him and he threw rocks at him. This is an act is repeated by pilgrims at Hajj who throw stones at symbolic pillars.
Just before Ibrahim carried out God's command, God replaced his son with a goat. Now Muslims celebrate Eid by feasting on a goat.