UAE Celebrates 51st National Day

Written by Silvana Fitzpatrick

UAE National Day is a symbol of unity, a time for Emiratis and all nations that call this land their home to stand together and celebrate The Spirit of The Union. Also known as 'Al-Eid Al Watani', National Day is celebrated on December 2nd each year.
On this day, back in 1971, UAE’s formal nationalisation came into being, when rulers of the emirates gathered to sign a unification agreement that would bring the separate states into one unique, thriving nation we call the United Arab Emirates.
For many expats living here, (myself included) UAE provides endless inspiration and vivid stories about the Emirati culture, which up to this day is leading by example as a culture of great tolerance and acceptance. UAE has always welcomed foreign influences with warmth and without any reservations.
​From tales evoking a fascinating past and pointing to a bright, outstanding future, there is no other culture in the Middle East that offers such a unique narrative on a social, human level.

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Back to Unifying Origins

The United Arab Emirates emerged on 2nd December 1971, under the guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the nation’s founding father, first president, and emblematic figure for the Emiratis. The locals fondly call him Baba Zayed.
Together with others, Sheikh Zayed established the foundation for broader acceptance and understanding, defining the experience for many expats in the UAE. It was on the 2nd of December that the rulers of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman Sharjah, Fujairah, and Umm al-Quwain agreed to unite as one nation.
A year later in 1972, Ras Al Khaimah joined as the seventh emirate and now UAE had become a unified country.
Dubai’s transformation and development over the past 50 years is nothing short of immaculate, if not miraculous. On a regional basis, the country’s progress is surely unmatched. But six decades ago, life in the emirates was pretty much nomadic, with Bedouin tribes roaming around golden desert dunes on camels and hunting with falcons.
​Fast forward to 2022 and we witness Dubai unfold as a prime business hub and one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

51 Ways to Spend a Memorable UAE National Day

This year, UAE National Day celebrations will go beyond a four-day long break. The UAE's organising committee is encouraging all residents to join in a nationwide celebration of the country's 51st National Day from December 2nd to 11th.
Abu Dhabi is preparing for a 10-day-long celebration with glittering spectacles and performances taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The show will take visitors through a generational journey while offering a glimpse into the bright future that lies ahead for UAE.
​Meanwhile, great anticipation is also building up in Dubai, where the national flag is already decorating every corner of the city, fluttering from atop skyscrapers. Shades of red, white, green, and black adorning parks, beaches, shopping malls, and buildings are leading the way, ahead of the festivities.

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Dubai Celebrates

Dubai is ready to celebrate, all infused with a sense of national pride and unity.
Don’t miss out on the Global Village National Day show where thousands will gather to sing the National Anthem, enjoy various performances, and watch an impressive display of fireworks.
For the ultimate extravaganza, Burj Khalifa will put on a memorable LED show inspired by the UAE flag, while Dubai Fountains will feature a rare spectacle of lights and water shows choreographed to the national anthem. Meanwhile, if you want to get a glimpse of traditional Emirati dance, Dubai Mall is where Ayala dancers will gather to perform the cultural dance, also known as the victory dance.
​For more colourful displays of lights and fireworks, make your way to venues such as Burj Al Arab, Dubai Festival City, Al Seef or The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah where impressive shows bursting with magnetism and joy are lined up for you starting on December 2nd, 8 pm onwards.

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National Day Cultural Events

Expo City Dubai is hosting some memorable shows and concerts in Al Wasl Plaza on the 2nd of December with Eida Al Menhali and Dalia Mubarak taking to the stage to lead the national celebrations. Dubai Opera calendar for National Day will feature live top performances from Guy Manoukian, Hooverphonic, and Le Trio Joubran while
​Coca-Cola Arena will showcase a live performance by famous Sufi singer, Abida Parveen on the 9th of December. You can immerse yourself in UAE arts and historical heritage at Jameel Arts Center, Union House, and the Etihad Museum where art exhibitions and multimedia experiences will explore the dramatic development of the emirates that came together in 1971 to form one nation.

Kids Excitement

From face painting to creative workshops, desert adventures, or beach activities, Dubai has amazing fun in store for kids of all ages during National Day celebrations.
Laguna Waterpark at La Mer and Aqua Adventure Waterpark at Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah, are awaiting you with an all-day long beach and water-filled fun, such as water rides and thrilling surf machines.
If the kids fancy a desert adventure for an authentic taste of the Bedouin lifestyle, they will absolutely love the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve where they can discover a traditional Bedouin village, camel caravans, and falcon shows. More fun is guaranteed at The View at The Palm,where all the family can enjoy the majestic vistas of the city and Arabian Sea spreading across from the 52d floor of the Palm Tower.
​For those who love to be surrounded by lush, verdant greenery, Zabeel Park and Dubai Safari Park are all dressed up with fun and wildlife attractions for this special occasion.

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Long Live UAE!

As National Day approaches, the moment carries a different significance for each one of us. Personally, this special day captures the essence of being connected to a nation that is built on the spirit of tolerance, diversity, enterprise, and unity.
Many lifelong multicultural friendships have flourished in this land, all of which have been endearing and enduring. Because living in The Emirates gives us all a better understanding of the differences and similarities that define us and other fellow humans. Such awareness could only be fulfilled by being part of a country with such diverse ethnic make-up of over 200 different nationalities.
​On December 2, I will be singing the UAE National Anthem and joining the happy crowds to share in my joy and sense of pride for being part of a nation I feel incredibly proud to call my home.