Global Village is celebrating the UAE Union Day with a variety of shows. This year’s celebrations offer spectacular cultural performances, along with themed activities, and entertainment under the UAE’s spirit of unity. Visitors can expect an exciting array of entertainment across the park, with the Main Stage offering a lineup of remarkable performances including the operetta “UAE’s Vision”. The captivating 30-minute act merges the theatrics of an opera and the magic of a musical, and pays tribute to the UAE’s rich cultural heritage and achievements through a journey in time. There will also be authentic Emirati cultural shows such as Yola and Ayyala throughout the park.
Guests can enjoy pop-up kiosks offering henna art, a themed-attire photo booth and interactions with falcons. Visitors can also get unique UAE Union Day souvenirs from pavilions such as UAE, 971 By the Community, Khalifa Foundation, and Hamdan Heritage Center. Additionally, they can savour authentic cuisine at the traditional eateries throughout Global Village. Visit globalvillage.ae for details.
There are celebrations across several other venues as well.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah recreates the traditional Middle Eastern marketplace, with its authentic architecture, wooden stalls and labyrinthine corridors providing the perfect backdrop for Union Day. Explore a rotating schedule of performances honouring Emirati heritage and history. Traditional Ayyala dancers and storytellers will bring to life Emirati folk customs. At the same time, carpet and fishnet weavers and falconry shows shed light on deeply embedded cultural traditions. Children can partake in interactive workshops, such as weaving sadu designs– Arab geometrical patterns – that tell a story, face painting and decorating cookies.
Al Seef is another Dubai destination that embodies the heart and spirit of the UAE. Part Arabian souk and old-world architecture and part modern restaurants and experiences, you can find henna artists, falconry displays and traditional crafts such as basket-making and weaving that provide complete cultural immersion alongside a spread of signature Emirati treats such as Arabic coffee and luqaimat. Until December 3 from 4 to 8pm.
Bluewaters: Local heritage takes centre stage with a packed schedule of traditional bands, including Harbia, Lewa and Nadba performances, a showcase on handicrafts and a brilliant henna designer.
Boxpark: All 1.2 kilometres of it is gearing up for Union Day with eye-catching light installations and a dynamic cultural programme to inspire all ages. Along with traditional musical and dance performances, a cultural village will host falconry displays, a talented henna artist and a spread of Emirati treats such as classic snacks and sweet luqaimat. Visitors can get hands-on experience with age-old crafts such as basket-making and weaving for a deep cultural dive. From December 1–3, 4-8pm
Community-based experiences: Serena Marketplace, located near Al Waha and Al Layan, and Shorooq Community Centre in the Shorooq neighbourhood are planning special activities for little ones. From noon until evening, children can have their faces painted with UAE-themed designs and attend engaging arts and crafts workshops. On 2, 3 December, 12-8 pm.
The Waterfront Market has an array of events as well. Until 3rd December, the Waterfront Market will host activities and entertainment suitable for guests of all ages. Expect engaging kids’ activities, greeting card making, face painting and balloon bending. Infusing a touch of nostalgia and cultural richness, the Waterfront Market will also activate its promenade, along the sparkling Deira Corniche waterway, featuring activities such as flag making, henna art and mesmerising falcon shows. Additionally, captivating performances such as a traditional Emirati dance by Ayala will also take place, whilst on Fridays, Waterfront Market’s Chef Chris will be showing off his Emirati dishes during his interactive live cooking sessions.
On Sunday 3rd December the celebration reaches its peak with a National Parade, emphasising the spirit of unity and patriotism. The parade is at 4:30pm, 6:30pm and 8:30pm. You can also immerse yourself in the rich culture of the UAE with performances from traditional bands at key locations such as Dubai Festival City Mall, Dubai Festival Plaza, The Outlet Village, City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdif, City Centre Al Shindagha, City Centre Meaisem, Mall of the Emirates, City Walk, Last Exit Al Khawaneej, Al Khawaneej Walk, Al Seef, Ibn Battuta Mall, Circle Mall, Dragon Mart, Nakheel Mall, and Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Until 3 December, explore Dubai’s cultural history at Al Shindagha Museum and engage in workshops, performances, and heritage demonstrations to celebrate the city’s maritime heritage, or head to Etihad Museum for a family-friendly celebration filled with traditions, heritage, and entertainment.
In Sharjah, national art exhibitions, traditional and cultural shows, recreational and educational workshops, and competitions will be hosted across various regions, including Sharjah National Park, Maliha Public Park, Al Hosn Island, Dibba Al Hisn, Khorfakkan Amphitheater, Souq Sharq, Wadi Al Helo, Kalba, Al Bataeh, Al Mudam, Al Dhaid Fort, and the Heritage Village in Al Hamriyah.
In Abu Dhabi
The Sheikh Zayed Festival has unveiled an exciting roster of grand events, shows and activities. The Festival grounds and pavilions will come alive with a dynamic array of celebrations, featuring the Union Parade, breathtaking fireworks displays, mesmerizing drone shows, captivating Emirates fountain performances, the International Civilizations Parade, and an assortment of cultural, heritage, and entertainment festivities.
Under the theme “Hayakum,” the Sheikh Zayed Festival has planned celebrations for December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd from 4pm until 1am. This festive ambiance is designed to bring together citizens, residents, and tourists from around the world, fostering a sense of unity in celebration of this significant national occasion.
The Union Parade: The Union Parade, scheduled for December 3rd, embodies a national image expressing patriotism and a deep sense of belonging to the nation and its leadership. It reflects the principles that underpin the UAE’s sustainable development and growth.
Welcoming Visitors: The festival’s pavilions, sections, and grounds will be adorned with special decorations. This includes lighting formations featuring various heritage designs and incorporating the number 52.
Special Events: There will also be an orchestra featuring unique musical compositions crafted for the occasion, performances by various UAE traditional bands showcasing traditional arts, and captivating roaming performances by the Abu Dhabi Police Musical Band.
Cultural Celebrations: The “Heritage Village” will feature unique activities designed for visitors, providing insights into authentic Emirati heritage across its four environments: mountainous, agricultural, marine, and desert. The Village aims to showcase various aspects of popular heritage through handicrafts, crafts, and arts, emphasizing traditional art’s connection to the present. Adding to the cultural richness, the International Civilizations Parade will showcase global diversity with the participation of international folklore bands. These bands will traverse all corners of the festival, contributing to the vibrant tapestry of celebrations.
Fireworks displays, drones show & Emirates Fountain shows: The skies above the Sheikh Zayed Festival will be ablaze with dazzling displays celebrating the occasion. Drone displays, forming wonderful artistic drawings, will illuminate the night sky, accompanied by fireworks that will erupt in new shapes and dazzling lights, adorning the skies over the Al Wathba area. The Emirates Fountain, one of the largest water fountains in the region, will showcase spectacular shows featuring a fusion of lights, the vibrant colors of the UAE flag, music, and laser displays.
Competitions and draws: Visitors get a chance to compete for valuable prizes in the “Most Beautiful Emirati Heritage Costume” competition. This unique event is designed to showcase the beauty and diversity of Emirati heritage by featuring and presenting the most exquisite traditional costumes. This competition offers participants the chance to showcase their artistic vision of traditional dress, expressing a profound understanding of Emirati heritage.
Majalis Abu Dhabi will offer Festival visitors various activities including craft workshops and a live drawing show. Additionally, there will be a photo exhibition portraying a distinctive journey from a glorious past.
At the Fun Fair City plenty of thrills are in store. The Children’s City will also present workshops including diverse and varied competitions, live performances, prizes and gifts for children.
The Sheikh Zayed Festival receives visitors daily from 4pm until 12 midnight on weekdays and until 1 am at weekends and official holidays.
Al Maryah Island is preparing a water display and mesmerising lights show. Guests can experience the remarkable event at Al Maryah Island’s Promenade on 2 and 3 December at 9pm.
Candlelight’s Arab music concert: Candlelight international concert series is set to enchant Abu Dhabi. The majestic Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi will resonate with the fusion of classical and Arab music in honor of the UAE Union Day. This special event, organised in partnership with the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, invites the public on December 2nd and 3rd for an evening of musical harmony, cultural richness, and celebration. With two sessions scheduled at 7pm and 9pm on both days, guests will be immersed in the harmonious blend of Arab and classical music, masterfully performed by the renowned pianist Aldo Dotto and the Fusion Al Arab group. Admission is free.