The regular public holidays and festivals of Tunisia fall on different dates each year since they follow the Islamic calendar – called the Hjira. This is shorter than the western Gregorian calendar by 11 days. The Islamic celebration of the New Year, Ras as-Sana will be in April for the next few years, and Moulid an-Nabi , the prophet Mohammed's birthday, will be around June or July. The festivities on these occasions are hectic, with lights, feasts, drummers, special sweets and street parades. Ramadan will be around December (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar) to mark the revelation of the Qur’an to the prophet Mohammed. During this period, Muslims refrain from taking food (solid or liquid) during the daytime and it is ended at 'Eid al-Fitr with much festivity.
All Muslims are expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) at least once in their lifetime during the 'Eid al-Adha in March. The occasion is celebrated with gaiety, coloured lights and well-dressed people greeting the pilgrims with carpets and other necessities for the journey.
Non-religious festivals like the Carthage International Festival, the El-Jem International Symphonic Music Festival, the Dougga Festival of classical drama are among the main attractions for tourists, with plenty of music, dance and theatre performances at Carthage's heavily restored Roman theatre, and are held during July/August.
The biennial Carthage International Film Festival (which focuses on Middle Eastern and African cinema) takes place in October in odd-numbered years. It is held in October to avoid the blistering summer heat.