Abu Dhabi: Thousands of people witnessed the official 48th National Day celebrations in Abu Dhabi at Zayed Sports City Stadium on Monday evening with a series of scintillating visual shows highlighting the legacy of ancestors, their life, sacrifices and achievements.
Titled ‘Legacy of our Ancestors’ the show was held under the auspices of His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Also in attendance were; His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, His Highness Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al Quwain and His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah.
Ceremonies started at 7pm with the unfurling of the national flag and National anthem of the UAE, followed by an historical background of what UAE life was like in the past, including the struggles experienced by Emirati forthfathers who risked their lives to dive for pearls.
More than 20,000 people gathered at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi — the venue of this year’s official celebration.
The 50-minute theatrical masterpiece highlighted Emirati heritage, values and mesmerised a huge gathering of people from all walks of life.
Emirati and expatriate families with their children started flocking in droves to the stadium from 4pm.
Children dressed in national flag coloured clothes were waving flags while men sported mufflers in national flag colours.
Speaking to Gulf News at the stadium, Emirati Humaid Al Hamli, 43, from Abu Dhabi, who had come along with his family and children, said, “The National Day is not a celebration of Emiratis only but it is a celebration of all nationalities who reside here and they flocked here to mark the day with us.
“We live together and celebrate together without any differentiation among caste, colour, creed and nationalities. We all are one community. That is the true message of Baba Zayed and we carry it forward.”
The UAE’s Founding Father Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan united all Emirates and we would be strong and united following the steps of our ancestors, Al Hamli said.
The audience at the stadium comprised of mostly Emiratis while other nationalities also trooped in to the venue.
A Chinese national Juan Li, 40, an Abu Dhabi resident for five years, said, “I love the culture of the UAE, cuisines and people, always I participate in different traditional and cultural events. Even today, my daughter is performing in the grand show here. I feel fortunate that she is a part of such a unique National Day celebration.”
People from other Arab countries also came in their droves.
Akram Ahmad, 34, Egyptian, said, “The UAE and Emirates have brotherly relations and we love to be part of the UAE celebrations.
Children from Saudi Arabia also arrived at the venue to mark the day.
Qaswara, a nine-year-old boy from Saudi Arabia said, “I am happy to celebrate the day here.”
Aseel, an eight-year-old also from Saudi also expressed her delight at seeing the grand celebrations.
The entire stadium burst with crackers, lighting and applause after each performance, which dated back to past struggles of the country in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Struggles of the past in barren deserts were prominent highlights of the celebrations.
The UAE’s 48th National Day was celebrated in spectacular fashion at the stadium, with stunning visual displays, live musical shows, and thousands of performers to entertain the onlookers.
The show was produced by the Organising Committee of the Official 48th UAE National Day celebration in collaboration with Flash Entertainment, and developed by 5,000 people from 70 different countries.