200923 Saudis
Saudis celebrate their first National Day, 90 years ago. Image Credit: Sabq

Abu Dhabi: King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud issued, on Sunday, September 19, 1932, a royal decree changing the name of the ‘Hijazi Najd Kingdom’ to the ‘Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’.

The decision was in response to an overwhelming national feeling prevalent among the Saudi people, who filed hundreds of petitions to the leader of their state in support of the name change.

The decree also stipulated that Thursday, September 23, 1932, would be declared as the Unification Day of the Kingdom, later marked as the annual National Day.

On January 15, 1902, King Abdulaziz Al Saud, founder of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its first king, managed to regain Riyadh, the capital of his ancestors, continuing his endeavour to unify the Kingdom.

He succeeded in unifying many regions over 30 years, including southern Najd, Sudair, Al Washm, Al Qassim, Al Ahsa, Asir and Hail. This was followed by the annexation of the Hijaz region, before the unification of the Jazan region was finally completed in 1930.

Great festivals

After the issuance of the royal decree, joy spread among the people of the kingdom, and celebrations were held throughout the country.

Umm Al Qura newspaper, in its issue published on Friday 22 Jumada al Awwal 1351 Hijri, documented the manifestations of the Saudi people’s celebration of the first National Day of their state, describing it as a “memorable day that will remain a great pride in history as the hearts of Saudis beat with joy and delight, and their faces raised signs of joy and pleasure”.

The newspaper portrayed the celebration with pictures of the official and popular aspects of festivities throughout the country.

The nation’s elders and youth, men and women, rich and poor, celebrated and Saudi and Arab flags were raised on government departments, institutions, stores, homes and balconies, as great festivals were held in every corner of the country.

The capital, Riyadh, marked the first National Day, with a grand ceremony attended by King Abdulaziz, princes of the royal family, and tribal leaders.

Against the backdrop of flag-raising ceremonies, drills, and the singing of the national anthem, Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz delivered a speech in which he said: “Today we celebrate the union of our Arab Kingdom, in response to what has been in the heart of every Arab loyal to this country long ago.”

A parade ensued with members of the armed forces and police.