Muslim festivals are observed based on Islamic calendar (Hijri calendar). List of Muslim holidays and festivals in 2023 with dates are presented below.
Comprising over a quarter of the world's total population, Islam is the second-most followed religion as of today. While the precise ratio of Muslims varies in different continents with some nation's majorly Islamic while others being a healthy blend of multiple ethnicities, Islam religion has a rich and long history, to say the least.
The Islamic community is ever-growing with their faith bestowed in the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. There are two major denominations in which the Muslim population can be sectioned, i.e., Sunni Islam and Shia. Muslims across the world follow the literature, customs, and traditions of the Islamic religion, also including the Islamic calendar.
The Muslims follow the Islamic calendar also known as the Hijri Calendar. It is a lunar calendar that consists of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. The calendar is a reflection of the Hijri era, the epoch that marked the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. It was also the year when the Prophet Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina and founded the first Muslim community there. Eventually, this came to be known and celebrated as Hijrah and is referred to as AH (in the year of Hijrah). In comparison with the Gregorian calendar, the year 2023 is the year 1445 AH as per the Islamic lunar calendar.
While the Islamic year begins in July of the Gregorian calendar, there are significant festivals celebrated throughout the year. Hence, in the year of 1444-1445 AH of the Hijri calendar, some prominent Muslim holidays in the first half of the year include the beginning of Jumada al-Akhirah in the 4th of January, 2023 followed by the start of the sacred month of Rajab a month later on the 2nd of February, 2023. Additionally, one of the most significant events in the Islamic year is the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, a holiday when Muslims begin Ramadan fasting from the 22nd of March, 2023 in the Gregorian calendar.
The Islamic Hijri calendar was created at the time when the rest of the world was following the Christ Era calendar. During this time, under the rule of the third caliph of the Muslim world, Umar ibn al-Khattab, an era was noted to be born where the Muslim community held its own precedence in the world. Hence, when the Prophet Muhammad settled in Medina with the new-found Muslim community, the birth of the lunar Hijri calendar took place.
The Islamic/Hijri calendar holds great importance in the Muslim culture as it is a vessel through which the people follow the cycle of the moon, celebrate sacred festivals, and refrain from warfare in the 4 holy months. Therefore, the Arabic calendar is significant in the day-to-day lives of Muslims as it helps them correspond the sacred days of celebration and charity with that of the Gregorian calendar and incorporate it into their lives.
In the ongoing Hijri year of 1444 AH, there are 6 prominent Islamic holidays the Muslim community looks forward to with jovial gusto. From the beginning of the holiest month of Ramadan on 22 March, 2023, the same month also observes Nuzul-al Qur'an and Laylat al-Qadr on 7-8th and 18th April respectively. As the sacred month of Ramadan concludes, there will be festivities as Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr on 2nd May 2023.
The latter half of the year will be witnessing Wuquf in 'Arafa (Hajj) and Eid ul-Adha on 27th June and 28th June, 2023 with another prominent holiday of the Islamic New Year falling on the 18th of July, 2023.
Muharram is the day when the Islamic New Year is celebrated. Also called Al-Hijra, it occurs on the first month of the month of Muharram, which coincides with 18th July, 2023 as per the Gregorian calendar. Al-Hijra is a day to remember the day of departure of the Prophet Muhammad as he journeyed to Medina from Mecca. The holiday begins at sunset and is celebrated with a hearty feast among the Muslims.
Mawlid al-Nabi is a significant day in Islam as it marks the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad. The event is celebrated with joy and delight and will begin on Evening of 27th September and lasts till the sunset of the 28th of September, 2023.
Ramadan is a significant month in Islam. This ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar is dedicated to fasting, regular prayer, reflection, and serving the community in any and every way possible. Muslims all over the world celebrate this month with their families. In 2023, Ramadan or Ramzan occurs from 22nd March to 21st April.
Eid al-Fitr is the holy culmination of the sacred month of Ramadan when Muslims bring the month of rigorous fasting and praying to an end and enjoy a colossal feast with their near and dear ones. In 2023, Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid from the evening of 21 April till the next day.
Eid al-Adha is the second most significant holiday in Islam and will correspond to the 28th of June 2023 in the solar calendar. This day honors the devout Muslim Ibrahim as he willingly sacrificed his son Ismail to oblige Allah's command without a shadow of hesitance.
Ashura is a religious day in the Hijri lunar calendar that holds particular resonance for Shia Muslims. Occurring on the tenth day in the month of Muharram, it remembers the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali. He was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. He along with other members of his family sacrificed themselves in the Battle of Karbala. Muslims observe fasting to commemorate this day which falls on 28th July 2023.
Laylat al-Qadr also called the Night of Power is considered one of the most special nights in Islam. This day commemorates the night on which God bestowed the Prophet Muhammad with the Qur'an through the angel Gabriel. Although the exact day is unclear, it is believed to have taken place in the final ten days of the month of Ramadan. Hence, the dates correspond to 18th April 2023.
|Date||Day||Holiday / Festival|
|Feb 17-18, 2023||Friday ~ Saturday||Lailat al Miraj|
|Mar 07-08, 2023||Tuesday ~ Wednesday||Lailat al Bara'ah|
|Mar 22, 2023||Wednesday||Ramadan (begins)|
|April 18, 2023||Tuesday||Laylat al Qadr|
|April 21-22, 2023||Friday ~ Saturday||Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan / Ramzan / Ramadhan or Ramathan) *|
|June 27-28, 2023||Tuesday ~ Wednesday||Waqf al Arafa - Hajj|
|June 28-29, 2023||Wednesday ~ Thursday||Eid-al-Adha *|
|June 18-19, 2023||Tuesday ~ Wednesday||Hijra - Islamic New Year|
|July 29, 2023||Saturday||Day of Ashura / Muharram|
|September 28-29, 2023||Thursday ~ Friday||Milad un Nabi|
*Celebrations on Eid al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha varies in different countries.