Abu Dhabi Annual Public Festivals

Abu Dhabi celebrates many diverse festivals and events in addition to their traditional festivals like Ramadan, Eid ul fitr, Eid Al Adha etc. The festivals are joyous family occasions which are celebrated by exchanging gifts with each other and it is also a chance to help the less fortunate.

Ramadan Muslims observe fast from dawn till dusk. While fasting, they abstain from food, drink, smoking and affairs. Visitors are also expected to follow this in public.

Eid Al Fitr is one of the major festivals and public holidays in Abu Dhabi. This three days feast is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan.

Zayed Heritage Festival

Organised by Camel Race Association

The Festival reflects the aspirations of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to preserve the heritage of the UAE in particular and the universal heritage of world civilizations as a whole. The Festival features a dedicated area showcasing replicas of historic monuments and iconic buildings from each emirate, showing how Emirati society has evolved since ancient times and flourished into the prosperous, modern society of today.  

The Festival will be held in sync with the UAE’s National Day festivities, with a wide array of activities to celebrate the Spirit of the Union. ‘The March of the Tribesmen’ is the Festival’s flagship activity, portrayed as a collective expression of the Emirati people’s patriotic love and loyalty through national songs reflecting the diversity and wealth of the UAE’s cultural heritage.

Festival Additions
This year’s Festival adds another international dimension through an area celebrating ‘The World in the UAE’, with replicas of iconic international landmarks and world-famous cultural highlights, in addition to historic monuments and buildings from Emirati heritage. All this solidifies the UAE’s status as a crossroads of civilisations and echoes Sheikh Zayed’s vision of building a modern state that promotes a unified culture of tolerance and peace in the world.

– UAE Historic Landmarks
– Global Wonders
– Al Wathba Gourmet
– Kids Nation

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the festival is held under the guidance and support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and under the direct supervision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; with the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Advisor to the Head of State, President of the Camel Racing Federation and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Festival.

Fri, Nov 30, 2018 03:00 PM – Sat, Jan 26, 2019 10:00 PM

Mother of The Nation

Mother of the Nation Festival (MOTN) comes to the UAE capital in conjunction with the Special Olympics World Games, which is taking place from March 14 to 21.

The festival pays tribute to the living legacy of the original ‘Mother of the Nation’, HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and President of the Supreme Council of Motherhood and Childhood. 

Held along a kilometre of Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, the Festival will embody the spirit of the ‘Year of Tolerance’ through a number of activities. From musical and entertainment performances and art exhibits to interactive workshops, the Festival offers something for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the newly introduced Special Olympics Zone, there will also be an e-sports gaming championship in the Progress Zone, while the Happiness Zone returns with an array of exhilarating activities. 

Cirque Du Soleil : Bazzar
Cirque Du Soleil, will make its Middle East debut by appearing in Abu Dhabi for the Festival this year. The spectacular production will run from March 6- 16 on Yas Island. The show will invent a whimsical one-of-a-kind universe by reimagining, rebuilding and presenting vibrant scenes in an artistic, acrobatic game of order and disorder. 

Mother of the Nation Festival ticket prices will be revealed soon. Tickets prices for Cirque Du Soleil – Bazzar start from AED 195 to AED 1495 and are now available online at: www.TixBox.com

Liwa Sport Festival 2019

The nine day festival attracts the region’s most powerful four wheel drives and bikers to face exciting challenges including cars drag race, bikes race, motocross track challenge, camel race, horse race, classic cars competition and Moreeb track for freestyle drifting.

The highlight feature of the festival is the adventurous race to the top of one of the world’s highest sand hills – the Moreeb Dune, which means ‘Terrifying Mountain’. At over 300m high and with a 50° angle, the dune will be contested over various categories for different car and bike types.

This festival offers a week-long celebration of UAE heritage with competitions and activities including bike riding and camping in the desert of Moreeb Dune. 

Visitors and participants attending the festival and races are provided with all facilities and services to make camping and accommodations in the Moreeb Dune a unique and extraordinary experience by the organisers.

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship is a European Tour golf tournament that was launched in 2006 and in the following years has become very popular. Today, it is recognized as one of the biggest events on the European Tour and in turn, helping build Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a world-class golf tourism destination. The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship is staged at the world-class Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sheraton, an award-winning facility featuring 27 holes, including the 18-hole National Course. This competition is a part of the trio of European Tour events in the Gulf States including Dubai Desert Classic and Qatar Masters. It has a $2.7 million prize fund sponsored by HSBC and the 2012 event boasted a record number of 82,000 golfing fans attending the sporting spectacle. Englishman, Jamie Donaldson won the 2013 event.

Camel Race

Camel racing cannot be separated from the social life of Abu Dhabi. It is incredibly competitive and exciting sport because of the generous prize money and provides visitors with a unique chance to watch this traditional sport.

This key event attracts many tourists from all over the world, as well as locals and even members of the royal family. Camel racing is a long-established event of Abu Dhabi and specially designed tracks for this event can be found at Al Wathba Camel Race Track and the Al Maqam Track near Al Ain. The races take place every week on Thursday and Friday mornings during the cooler winter months.

Red Bull Air Race World Series

The Red Bull Air Race series is an international competition of air races that is arranged in ten cities across the world. Abu Dhabi is one of the centres of this competition. Fearless pilots enthral the visitors by whizzing their planes at speeds of up to 400km/h through low-level inflatable “air gates”.

This event was launched with the support from HH Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The first round of the Air Race is held in Abu Dhabi city, with the rest of the seven rounds held in other cities of the world. The 2011, 2012 and 2013 series have been cancelled but the Red Bull series is looking for a potential return in 2014.

Abu Dhabi, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, hosts plenty of events and festivals throughout the year.

Formula One @ Yas Marina Circuit

Abu Dhabi hosted the first Formula One Grand Prix in 2009 at the Yas Marina Circuit with the final race of the inaugural Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Etihad Airways, the flag carrier airline of Abu Dhabi, is the current major sponsor of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Hermann Tilke designed Yas Marina Circuit is built on the intriguing Bani Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Although, considered among the newest F1 circuits in the world, it is one of the most technologically advanced circuit in the world. It is the only motorsports venue where all five grandstands (Main Grandstand, West Grandstand, North Grandstand, South Grandstand and Marina Grandstand) are covered. The 5.55km circuit is also used for other smaller sporting events such as drag racing and hosts a number of corporate events throughout the year.

Abu Dhabi Science Festival

Held under the sponsorship of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the ABU Dhabi Science festival is an initiative to support the science and technology segment which also falls in line with the UAE Innovation Strategy and the Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision. This is the largest science festival held in the province and has been visited by millions of visitors since its foundation.


Just as the Abu Dhabi Festival brings the world to the UAE capital, so too does it take Abu Dhabi to the world. In 2019, audiences across the globe will experience new initiatives made possible by the Abu Dhabi Festival in the spirit of cultural diplomacy


Co-produced by Komische Oper Berlin and Abu Dhabi Festival
Sunday, 27 January (Premiere Performance)

With Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece La Bohème, the playful, provocative and meticulous Barrie Kosky is staging a key work of contemporary life in nineteenth-century Paris – as a portrait of life between art, unrequited love and modern isolation in the face of death. Under the musical direction of Jordan de Souza, ensemble member Nadja Mchantaf in the role of the fragile Mimì and the young Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan as the exuberant poet Rodolfo tackle one of the most moving love stories in the history of musical theatre.


Co-produced by Teatro Real, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Abu Dhabi Festival
March 2018-2020

On the occasion of the Bicentennial and the 20th anniversary celebrations, the Teatro Real revived one of the most monumental and emblematic productions of its recent history: AIDA by Giuseppe Verdi. It premiered in 1998 with the staging, scenography, and costumes by Hugo de Ana. Now we see a restored and updated version of one of the most popular operas by the composer from Busseto. Maestro Nicola Luisotti returned to the Teatro Real to conduct the chorus and orchestra of the Teatro Real with three casts of today’s best voices: Violeta Urmana, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Daniela Barcellona, Gregory Kunde, Fabio Sartori, Alfred Kim, Liudmyla Monastyrska, and Anna Pirozzi, among others.


Visit and End-of-Year Concert Conducted by Peter Eötvös
17-23 June

The Reina Sofia School of Music was established in Madrid, in 1991 and is open to students from around the world. It has also been ADMAF’s international strategic cultural partner since 2015.
Composer, conductor and teacher, the Hungarian Peter Eötvös, will be visiting the school to give his invaluable insight to students, as well as conducting works by Mozart, Stravinsky and Beethoven, and his own compositions. These will be performed by the students during their end-of-year concert at Teatro Real in Madrid (also one of ADMAF’s strategic international partners), in the presence of Her Majesty, Reina Sofia.


Support of Les Acrobates de Tanger’s Presentation and UK Tour of HALKA, and Amir ElSaffar Ensemble & Vanesa Aibar: Luminiscencia

Dates & Venues: 6 July – The Lowry, Salford/Manchester
9 July – Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, Poole
11 July – Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London

14 highly skilled acrobats from Morocco in a family-friendly and heart-warming show visits three UK cities in a partnership between Shubbak – London’s largest festival of Contemporary Arab Culture and Abu Dhabi Festival, and working in collaboration with Crying Out Loud.
Amir ElSaffar Ensemble & Vanesa Aibar: Luminiscencia
Date & Venue: 6 July – Sadler’s Wells, London

The acclaimed Iraqi-American musician Amir ElSaffar brings together an ensemble of great exponents of the new vanguard of Flamenco; including the unconventional Flamenco dancer Vanesa Aibar, vocalist Gema Caballero, and Flamenco percussionist Pablo Martin Jones. The ensemble also includes mastermind electronics musician Lorenzo Bianchi Hoesch, as well as ElSaffar’s sister, Dena ElSaffar, who plays violin and traditional Iraqi fiddle. Using elegant, melodic arabesques to connect traditions, this special line up merges East and West into a unique evening of soulful dance and music.

A Fondation Royaumont production, supported by the Abu Dhabi Festival and presented in partnership with Shubbak, Flamenco Festival and Sadler’s Wells.

UK premiere

2019 – 2021

Performances in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Oman and UAE
The Festival is supporting Palestinian singer and musician, Omar Kamal, with his new world tour in which he will be performing songs from his latest album, set for release on 7 March, 2019 as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival Composers’ Platform.

Liwa Date Festival

The Liwa Date Festival returns every July in Abu Dhabi, where thousands of farmers from across the emirates descending on in Al Dhafra Region to compete in several date-related cultural traditional competitions and exchange technical expertise to produce better quality fruit.

Aiming to promote the cultivation of the best and finest varieties of dates, the annual event offers a platform for companies to share healthy, sustainable agricultural methods for producing high quality dates.

The festival which runs for ten days until 27th July 28 is expected to welcome tens of thousands of visitors from across the UAE after having established itself as one of the leading events in Al Dhafra Region.

Held under the patronage of H.H Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee, the Liwa Date Festival aims to bring attention to the heritage and cultural significance associated with the date palm and Emirati history, and to also raise the standard quality of Emirati-produced dates.

Liwa Date Festival is widely recognised as a unique gathering for those passionate about the role of palm trees as well as owners of factories and investment companies interested in date related industries. Palm trees and Rotab (half-ripe dates) have been an integral part of Emirati society and its deep-rooted traditions. Hence, the festival is a reflection of the UAE leadership’s efforts to pay tribute to these living symbols of the past’s authenticity, the present’s prosperity and the future’s promise.

The festival features various internationally acclaimed Emirati heritage activities and competitions that have been extremely popular in past editions, including Rotab beauty competition, model farm competition, best fruit basket, the best mangoes and the best lemons. The Festival showcases a range of events; competitions, date auctions, lectures that aim to raise awareness of the importance of the palm tree, as well as special workshops for children, poetry evenings, popular games and others.

The Liwa Date Festival is also a great opportunity for tourists to learn about Emirati customs and traditions and to discover locals industries and handicraft products.

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