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A parade in progress to mark Saudi Arabia National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday. Image Credit: Courtesy: Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai: Rich in tradition, heritage and folklore, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion celebrated its National Day with spectacular shows and a patriotic fervour at Expo 2020 Dubai here today.

A grand musical show with live orchestra, 90 musicians and an opera singer was the highlight of the day. Held at Al Wasl Plaza, the ‘Saudi Cultural Show’ was a visually-rich story with state-of-the-art 3D projections displayed on the world’s largest LED screen. A Royal Ardah (sword dance) was also performed, showcasing the country’s traditional culture. The show was capped by dazzling light displays and fireworks that lit up the skies above the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

Hussain Hanbazazah, Commissioner General of the Saudi Arabia Pavilion, said: “The Saudi National Day has allowed us to showcase and celebrate with the world the best of the Kingdom and its people — our vision, culture, heritage and history. It was also an honour to welcome Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Kingdom’s Culture Minister, to Expo 2020 Dubai to oversee an exhilarating programme that took visitors on an unforgettable journey of the Kingdom’s past, present and our bright future.”

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The Saudi Arabia National Day saw 18 events at ten different locations across the Expo 2020 Dubai site. Image Credit: Courtesy: Expo 2020 Dubai

Proud Saudis

Dignitaries, business leaders, artists and Saudi youth attended the celebrations. Abdulmalik Alaskar, 21, a graduate in Japanese Language and Translation from King Saud university in Riyadh, told Gulf News: “I’m proud of my nation and the power it holds on the world platform. As a millennial, I have been taught to dream and have ambitions and am so grateful for that. I hope to see Saudi Arabia launching new developments that will put it on top of the world.”

Manal Mohammad Al Qahtan

Manal Mohammad Al Qahtan, 26, a senior tour guide at Expo 2020 Dubai, added: “Saudi Arabia has great resources. We have ambitions that have been set by our beloved Ruler. We will strive hard to see them through. Saudi Arabia has great relations with other nations and the future is looking bright.”

Youssef Al Eshaiwi

Youssef Al Eshaiwi, 26, another graduate in Japanese Language and Translation, said: “I have a dream to see Saudi Arabia as a leader in every aspect. We are a leader already and a very strong nation. We will build a bigger nation.”

Jawad bin Yousef

Jawad bin Yousef, 21, a volunteer at the Saudi Arabia Pavilion, said he was also very proud as to how far his nation has come. “We have achieved a lot already, but as our beloved Ruler said: There are no limits when it comes to setting an ambition for ourselves and the nation.”

Modi Sultan

Modi Sultan, 22, another tour guide, added: “My dream is to see our nation stay on top of the world. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are brothers. I wish the two countries well on this momentous day.”

More celebrations across Expo 2020 Dubai

Visitors inside the Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai today. Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/Gulf News

The Saudi Arabia National Day saw 18 events at ten different locations across the Expo site, including Al Wasl Plaza, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion, Al Forsan Park, Al Ghaf Avenue, Business Connect Center, Jubilee Park, Sun Stage, Sea Stage, Earth Stage and the main entrance to the Mobility District.

Business leaders attended the ‘Saudi Business Briefing’, where representatives from the Saudi Ministry of Investment shared updates on investment opportunities and programmes in the Kingdom — including big projects such as the futuristic city of Neom, the Red Sea Development Company, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and Roshn, Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate developer.

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Al Forsan Park at Expo 2020 Dubai saw the ‘Saudi Experience Festival’ with performances and activities for people of all ages. Image Credit: Courtesy: Christopher Edralin/Expo 2020 Dubai

There were cultural performances by the ‘Flower Men of Asir’ and a musical show by a military band that performed traditional folkloric dances. The Saudi Arabia Pavilion also had a screening of the film ‘Kingdom of Opportunities’, which explored the role of Saudi Arabia in supporting and empowering aspiring Saudi entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses.

Saudi musical maestro Mohamed Abdo performed as part of the ‘Amjad, The Saudi Music Night’ at Jubilee Park, while Saudi pop sensation Ayed also joined the celebrations as music lovers tapped their feet to special Saudi DJ performances underneath the stars, at the Sea, Sun and Earth stages.

Performances and activities

Al Forsan Park also saw the ‘Saudi Experience Festival’ with performances and activities for people of all ages. A ‘Saudi Fashion Show’ set the runway with contemporary pieces and collections designed by the next generation of Saudi talents. The show featured collections by Saudi designers ‘Reem Al Kanhal’, ‘KafbyKaf’, ‘R9designs’ and ‘1886’.

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Visitors also had a chance to participate in Sadu weaving, one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest traditional forms of weaving, while other visitors enjoyed watching the ‘Saudi Cultural Parade’, led by 80 military band members with trumpets and drums. A unique fashion show showcased traditional and contemporary trends in the Kingdom, while a parade of horses celebrated the historic significance of equines in Saudi Arabia’s rich culture. The ‘Saudi Green Falcons’ also put on a stunning aerial show, filling the skies above Expo 2020 Dubai.