On December 2, 1971, The United Arab Emirates became an independent union marking its formal nationalization from the British Protectorate Treaties. The eventual unification of the seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain – also took place in the same year, forming the modern-day country that is now popularly known as the UAE. Celebrated on the same date each year for two days or more, UAE’s national day depicts the people’s spirit of unity and happiness.
In schools, students celebrate National Day by organizing numerous performances that are not limited to folkloric dances and traditional songs. Children also commemorate the country’s independence by wearing the cultural “thoub” and “kandoora”. There are cultural competitions in different schools that should not be missed as well as concerts and parties. Some students perform in live outdoor concerts. They also perform the traditional UAE dances. Foods, on the other hand, served and cooked during this holiday, are available in food bazaars spearheaded by some educational institutes. It is exciting to note that everyone participates in this activity. What makes it more interesting is that the proceeds go to charity.
During this celebration each year, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy and look forward to throughout the UAE. One of the attractions is a well-decorated car. In the country’s capital, Abu Dhabi, people arrive in decorated cars going to the city’s corniche where celebrations are held. This is a perfect sight for photographers and videographers to capture as everyone drives through the street to get the public’s attention. You will be surprised how each car owner decorate their cars and come up with some very unique ideas. The massive fireworks display is also an annual presentation that many people anticipate. UAE’s National Day is the time of the year when some families go out to the corniche and spend time with their loved ones and friends while others go to gardens and parks waiting for the spectacular fireworks.
Like any other countries, UAE also has flag raising ceremonies during this event. As a matter of fact, flag hoisting is done in people’s houses, and public and private establishments like stores and shops, to show the spirit across the country. The display of flags in all sizes are common during this occasion. Police and military parades are the main highlight wherein government officials are present. Businesses also participate and offer other effective additions, all in the colors of the country’s flag, ranging from key rings, house and party decorations, and car accessories.
Dubai is one of the emirates worth visiting for during this holiday where the celebration is given a blend of the traditional and the modern treatment. Flag raising also takes place in the district. In UAE, some people will hang monster size flags in their homes. They are either placed from the roof of their houses, balconies or in garden trees with lights all in the colors of the UAE flag. The atmosphere of the metropolis is very festive on its National Day with attractive and colorful nightlife. Vistas of the cityscape are uniquely breathtaking and one cannot resist taking pictures and videos to capture the moment. There is no doubt that the UAE National Day in Dubai offers an amazingly remarkable experience.
Other special events include traditional dhow boat racing, international boat racing, camel racing, traditional sword dances such as the Ayyalah, Liwa, and Haban, Harbuya and Mated. They are usually held in the center of the malls. In Dubai, Classic Car competitions are much-awaited by the public while the best decorated cars in Abu Dhabi are displayed at the corniche. The best car to win remains displayed and the winner gets a prize. There will definitely be a series of public performances across UAE and everyone will be having a party and some will be joining competitions hoping to win some prizes.
Indeed, celebrated in various creative ways, UAE’s National Day provides a wealth of material for photographers and film enthusiast alike. It is the best time to capture the spirit of unity that has integrated this nation’s population in the last forty two years.