Dubai: It was a day fit for a 42nd birthday party — blue skies, happy crowds and a sea of red, green, white and black colours celebrated the UAE.
From Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah to Dubai — and everywhere in between — citizens and residents united in pride and passion for the UAE to wave the flag.
While Sunday was a holiday for some in the private sector and all in the public sector, Monday is a public sector holiday with government offices and services shut to allow officials and public workers enjoy National Day — the 42nd in the UAE’s history marking when the seven emirates joined together as one and created a land where the sky is the limit and where hopes and dreams come true.
While the UAE is still basking in national pride after winning the opportunity to host the World Expo in 2020, Sunday was another opportunity to indulge in pride.
“The Happiest Nation”, the main event for the 42nd UAE National Day celebrations in Dubai, attracted thousands. The event was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
The event at Burj Park began with Shaikh Mohammad honouring the team that worked on Expo 2020, followed by the “Happiest Nation” operette.
It started with a choreographed sketch and a video that symbolised the different UAE terrains: the sea, the mountains, the desert and the agriculture; and how they all came together for the union. It was followed by a series of videos and shows that included traditional Emirati dance, plus mention of notable UAE achievements and personalities.
The show was inspired by a poem by Shaikh Mohammad, where he expressed the UAE’s historical legacy, its current developments and the future that awaits it.
After the show, a signature display of fireworks lit up the skies.
In Abu Dhabi’s Breakwater area, a long colourful display and fluttering flags are proving a crowd-puller. This is Abu Dhabi’s statistical timeline, which shows its economic, social and environmental growth since the 1960s until 2012. It also shows the Government’s vision for Abu Dhabi’s future until 2030. Created by the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi, it was launched on Sunday to commemorate the UAE’s 42nd National Day and present the Abu Dhabi emirate’s development to residents and visitors alike.
Thousands of people flocked to Downtown Dubai on Sunday to cheer the annual National Day Parade featuring bands, horses, themed floats, street performers and cars.
Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard was sealed off to regular traffic to allow the procession to flow smoothly.
The annual parade is organised by Emaar Properties in its flagship development that includes the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and The Dubai Mall, said to be the world’s biggest shopping destination.
Revellers lined the Boulevard to cheer on the parade; many stood on benches, balconies and patios of nearby properties to get a good look.
The entire area was awash with colour as countless UAE flags fluttered in the breeze.
The parade was held a day before National Day, which falls on December 2 every year to celebrate the formation of the UAE in 1971.
With Dubai home to more than 200 nationalities, cultural groups representing different communities took part in the event. Schools, government departments and private companies were also represented.
Even little Ajman got in on the act, creating a new official Guinness World Record as it created the largest human greeting card mosaic on the Corniche.
Around 4,000 participants used 5,500 individual cards to create a giant mosaic covering 120 square metres celebrating National Day. The Ajman mosaic smashed the record held by a US-hamburger chain in Taipei in January 2013. That mosaic cover 101 square metres.
But even with all of the celebrations on Sunday, there was one more reason to smile: Today is National Day.