Hijra – Islamic New Year (Hijira)

KoranKaabaHijra is a religious observance in Muslim countries and communities around the world on March 27 each year. It is not an official public holiday in all Muslim countries, and is not an official Indian holiday.

This is a religious observance that tends to be observed privately. It is not appropriate to offer outside greetings or any particular public acknowledgment. General considerations regarding Muslim employees apply.

This is not an official Indian holiday. Muslims do not accord this observance the same importance as Eid el-Fitr or Eid el-Adha. Generally, Muslim employees do not expect employers to make scheduling accommodations.

Employers may be unaware that Salat al Jummah, a prayer service at the mosque that practicing Muslims are required to attend, is held every Friday at midday. Muslim employees may be accommodated by being given the option to work an extra half hour or so on a chosen day during the week, to make up for taking this midday prayer break on Fridays.

In the countries that observe Chinese New Year officially, the holiday lasts for about a week. Official and business closings are most widely in effect during New Year’s Eve and the first three days of the New Year. People generally return to work after the fourth or fifth day. Companies should avoid scheduling activities during this time, as many people return to their hometowns for the New Year and cannot attend such events. The family-oriented nature of this holiday also means that the service sector is generally unavailable to provide support. Train and airline reservations should be made in advance; travel bookings are harder to make as the New Year approaches. On the second day of the festival, sons-in-law visit their parents-in-law; although this is often localized, traffic may be heavier than usual on this day.

Background History

Hijra commemorates the flight of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to modern-day Medina (Saudi Arabia), an event that marks the beginning of the historical Islamic calendar. Special events, including speeches about Muhammad and his flight, are sometimes held. However, there are no particular religious ceremonies associated with this observance. Muslims sometimes send greeting cards to each other to mark the date.

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