Dubai bans hotel alcohol sales on Valentine’s Day

DUBAI Valentine’s Day will be dry in Dubai this year, as the romantic holiday—usually a lucrative one for hoteliers—falls a day ahead of the prophet Mohammed’s birthday.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing informed hoteliers of the religiously-based prohibition on alcohol sales this week, leaving them scrambling to alter promotions and inform guests ahead of February 14. Many hotels now plan to host Valentine’s events a day early, on February 13.

Mohammed’s birthday, known as Mawlid an-Nabi, is marked on the 12th day of the month of Rabi’-ul-Awwal in the Sunni calendar. Because the Sunni calendar is lunar-based, dates fluctuate in relation to the Western calendar. Last year, Mawlid an-Nabi fell on February 26, and next year it will fall on February 4.

Officials in Abu Dhabi and other emirates have not yet announced whether they will also prohibit alcohol sales on Valentine’s Day this year.