New Year’s Day is a holiday that is not openly celebrated in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia follows the Islamic calendar. The first of the Islamic year began in 622 CE which is when Muhammad and his supporters departed Mecca and travelled to the city of Medina. The majority of places in the world follow the Gregorian calendar.
The multawa (religious police) who forbids any New Year’s celebration because it does not have religious and cultural connotations, are a part of a Saudi Arabian government agency called the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Its commission enforces Sharia Law (regulation of day-to-day life).
The Muslims do have three holidays that they celebrate. One is Saudi National Day which is celebrated every year on September 23 and honors the 1932 unification of the Kingdom. There is Eid al Fitr which is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal (10th month of the Islamic calendar) and marks the end of Ramadan. This celebration consists of a month of fasting and prayer. Finally, there is Eid al Adha (Hajj-pilgrimage to Mecca). This is an Islamic festival that celebrates the willingness of Abraham to abide by Allah's (God’s) authority to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael (Abraham). This event is observed by Muslims around the world.
So today in Saudi, it is just an ordinary day.
All the best,
Pssssst.......Happy New Years!.