The UAE has declared that February 17 will be a one-day public holiday, in order to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

A circular issued by Humaid Al Qattami, the UAE minister for education, said that all ministries, federal bodies and schools would be closed on Thursday the 17th, and reopen on Sunday, February 20.

The date, referred to as Milad Al Nabi, is traditionally marked as a religious holiday by the UAE and other Muslim states, in order to celebrate the life of the Prophet (PBUH).

The anniversary falls on Tuesday, February 15, but the holiday has been moved so it does not fall between two working days.

Hotels in Dubai last month scrambled to reschedule their Valentine’s Day celebrations after the emirate’s tourism authority confirmed February 14 would be dry, due to its proximity to Milad Al Nabi.

Valentine’s Day is traditionally a lucrative earner for hotels that capitalise on its commercial potential, but licensed hotels and bars will be barred from selling alcohol this year.