Thousands of people gather at Downtown Boulevard to enjoy the UAE National Day Parade on 28th November, 2015. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: At 2.45pm on Saturday at Downtown Dubai, hundreds of bikers and motorists start their engines — the sports bikes, cruisers and super cars begin sputtering together like thunder.

The motorists then move to the back of the procession that is set to scale the Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard. Crowds waving the Emirati flag amassed on both sides of the boulevard. At three o’clock, the drums roll, trumpets sound and the National Day parade begins.

The UAE is celebrating its 44th year of unity on December 2.

Dubai Police lead Saturday’s National Day parade with its cavalry team heading the procession. The police marching band followed with the brass and drum section putting the crowd in a festive mood. Super cars from various government departments, such as Dubai Police, Ambulance and Civil Defence were also present.

To display the country’s diverse population, the parade also included entertainment with countries represented at the procession. Elephant floats, dances with scimitars and shields, and a percussion group represented India. The group representing Bangladesh carried a model of a Bengal tiger and a cricket-bat float. Chinese dragons, musicians on stilts, people dressed as cowboys and native Americans, djembe drummers, and a bagpipe band also took part in the celebrations.

Traditional clothes from places across the world could also be seen, such as the Indian sari, the Scottish kilt, khaleeji thobes, as well as dresses from Russia, Mexico, Philippines and Romania.

Floats carrying various wonders of the world and unmistakable architecture, such as the Sphinx, the Taj Mahal, Big Ben and Burj Al Arab came in waves to further assert the young country’s place in the international scene.

Some favourite heroes and movie icons, such as Sonic the hedgehog, Superman, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Sparrow, and Ronald McDonald could be seen in the procession.

A number of establishments, charities, and schools took part in the event, such as the American International School, Greenwood International School, and We Serve Heroes: An Initiative for Labourers.

“We just wanted to show our love and appreciation for the country,” Ratinder Shah, who took part in the parade on his sports bike, said.

“I first learnt about the parade on social media. A biker group was calling on bikers to take part in the celebrations. Although it doesn’t take much to incite a biker to join a procession, as we never miss a chance to ride our bikes in a group, this parade was also a great way to show the country our respect and gratitude.”

Abdullah Aiman, who took part in the parade as a member of the UAE adventures club, also said the parade was a great way to show appreciation to the country.

“We were asked by the Al Futtaim Group to take part in the celebrations in our FJ cruisers, we’ve decorated them with decals of the Emirati flag and emblem. It’s a pleasure to take part in the parade, not to mention a lot of fun,” he said, walking briskly back to his car in the moments before the parade began.