December 2nd is National Day in the United Arab Emirates. The country has been in overdrive for weeks in anticipation, as this 40th anniversary is a big one for the UAE.
The United Arab Emirates is an amazingly young country. Many people walking around have memories of when Sheikh Zayed united the seven emirates and the various tribes into the one union. In fact, the slogan for this year’s National Day is “Spirit of the Union.” This is the logo:
This whole week has been full of funny little surprises. For example, last weekend, my husband and I were eating falafel sandwiches in Sharjah on the canal in Al Qasbah, when this patriotic marching band came by, complete with performers on stilts.
Naturally, the celebrations across the UAE have been endless. For example, an airshow recently took place on the Abu Dhabi Corniche.
(Photo courtesy of The National newpaper.)
Meanwhile, manufacturers are cashing in, selling all sorts of National Day-themed products, including clothing, accessories, food and even limited-edition cars. One of my favorites is at Bloomingdale’s in Dubai Mall: the UAE-themed tote, which can be yours for 150 dirhams ($41).
Emiratis express their national pride in many ways. Most common is vehicle adornment. Below is a mild example; some vehicles have every inch decorated.
Lots of Emiratis display flags at their homes. I don’t mean standard-sized flags like Americans hang for Fourth of July. No. When Emiratis do something, they do it big—I’m talking about 20-foot, 50-foot and even 100-foot flags. Here are just a couple villas in my neighborhood.
This past week, my kids’ school has been going all out for National Day. The students dressed in the colors of the country and formed a human flag on the football field.
Meanwhile, the school parking attendants were required to wear patriotic vests this week.
Here’s a photo of my kids observing National Day. My two older kids are wearing UAE national dress—kandura for the men, abaya for the women.
Finally, I’d like to end with song. This song was written and produced by Ms. Jules & Mr. Jones of the music and theater department at my children’s school. If you listen for 2 minutes you’ll hear all the lyrics, written in honor of National Day. I think it’s lovely. Click here and tell me what you think: Song for National Day ~ This is Home (The Spirit of the Union)
If you’d like to know more about UAE culture, here are some of my favorite things about the UAE.
Questions: What are your impressions of National Day?
How are you going to spend the holiday?
Categories: Dubai / UAETags: Arabic Culture, December 2, Dubai Mall, Holly S. Warah, Middle Eastern culture, UAE, UAE National Day, United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates is celebrating National Day on the 2nd of December each year. National Day is known as Al-Eid Al Watani in Arabic. The National Day Festival is an annual day of celebration to commemorate the Emirates’ independence from Great Britain,. The most significant day in the history of UAE, National Day is a celebration of honor, pride and patriotism. National Day Festival is celebrated with great zest amongst locals, as it is one of the biggest events and exhibitions in UAE. All important monuments in the cities are opened to public, during the National Day Festival in Dubai. Sequences of events are organized at prevalent tourist attractions of Dubai in celebration of National Day.
On National Day Festival, UAE declares this day as national holiday and thus, most people take their families for excursions. During this time, tourists also get to interconnect and support residents. The national fervor during National Day Festival in UAE is something unforgettable for tourists. It provides a great insight into the culture, arts, music and dances of UAE. One of the rare places that one can witness the harmonious existence of tradition and modernity together, UAE is a destination well worth visiting. Boasting a vivacious nightlife, glamorous shopping malls, a myriad of unique recreational activities and breathtaking vistas of the cityscape, one can only imagine how amazing the atmosphere of the metropolis must be on its National Day Festival.
One day, there was a blind man sitting on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet and a sign that read: "I am blind, please help." A creative publicist was walking by him and stopped to observe he only had a few coins in his hat, he dropped a few more coins in his hat and without asking for his permission took the sign, turned it around, and wrote another announcement. He placed the sign by the blind man's feet and left. That afternoon the creative publicist returned by the blind man and noticed...