It's the UAE's birthday! Here's how to celebrate
- 29 November 2018
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On December 2, the UAE commemorates the 47th anniversary of the day when, in 1971, a group of sheikhdoms joined together (Ras Al Khaimah joined the other six in February 1972). Now one of the world’s most advanced countries, the nation tops the region on the United Nations’ human development index, offering excellent quality of life to people from over 180 different countries. That’s reason enough to celebrate its culture of openness and tolerance as well as the vision of its founding fathers.
From hotel brunches and dinners to mall exhibitions (check out the falconry at Times Square Centre in Dubai) to shopping discounts at retailers and theme parks (like the one at Dubai Parks and Resorts), there is certainly no shortage of ways to ramp up the party atmosphere in the run up to UAE National Day. My Salaam has compiled a list of the biggest events (or those worthy of a status update!).
Details of the annual car parades have not yet been confirmed, so check social media for more information.
TRIBUTE TO ZAYED
An immersive light-and-sound show celebrates the UAE’s rich cultural diversity while commemorating the birth centenary of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Father of the UAE. Named “This is Zayed. This is the UAE”, the show is being held on December 2 at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi and will include performances, futuristic digital art and inspirational readings. Tickets cost AED60, with free entry for seniors and People of Determination.
As you’d expect, there are going to be plenty of places to catch some jaw-dropping fireworks displays. Naturally, you’ll want to head to the Burj Khalifa for the main show, but you can also expect to see displays elsewhere in the UAE. In addition to Yas Island and Global Village, Dubai Festival City will be the only mall to have confirmed fireworks displays (not one, but two on December 2, at 8 pm and 10 pm). There are also likely to be light-ups at La Mer and The Beach in Dubai and near Qanat Al Qasba in Sharjah.
SAY ‘YAS’ TO THE NATION
The dust may have settled on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but there’s plenty of opportunity to rev into action all weekend on Yas Island. Activities kick off on November 30 with family events galore at Yas Marina and continue with cultural events at Yas Mall and at Ferrari World, culminating on December 2, which will see the Biggest Water Battle take place at Yas Waterworld. The highlight promises to be Yas Marina Circuit’s National Day Colours events, also on December 2, during which there’ll be Arabic calligraphy, food trucks, a classic car show and more. The night will end in a spectacular display of fireworks, so stick around! Free entry for most events.
DUBAI GOES TRADITIONAL
Get up close and personal with the nation’s vibrant traditions at Global Village this year. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority’s annual Live Our Heritage festival will be running till April 6, with weekend events that focus on the nation’s environment and the folk arts and crafts that arose in response.
Besides these theme events, and besides 27 national pavilions, a lake and fire show, and circus performances from across the planet (phew!), Global Village has laid on a special set of events for UAE National Day, headlined by the Emirati artist Hamad Salem Al Ameri, on December 2. The acclaimed artist’s performance is included within Global Village’s entry ticket of AED 15.
RAISE THE ROOF IN R.A.K.
One of the biggest UAE National Day celebrations this year is in Ras Al Khaimah, where leading UAE singers Hussein Al Jasmi and Aida Al Manhali will perform at a free-to-attend cultural event in front of Julphar Towers. They will tell the story of the UAE and its people through music, and the event will be followed by a fireworks spectacular. His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, is expected to attend. Doors open at 8 pm.
WALK FOR THE U.A.E.
The UAE is a beacon of tolerance, a fact celebrated with a Solidarity Walk on National Day each year. This year’s event is expected to see more than 500 people gather at the tracks on Mamzar Beach to express their love, respect and gratitude for their home away from home while supporting the education of orphans with a fundraising event for Manar Al Iman charity private school. The fourth edition of the event takes place at 8 am on December 2 and is organised by Team Sports UAE. Call 054-4566283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
What’s the intersection between jazz and the seafaring music of the Gulf? What’s a minimalist pianist? And is Nabati poetry as awesome as they say? Find out at “Hekayah: The Story”, a poetry and spoken-word event specially organised for UAE National Day by NYU Abu Dhabi. Afra Atiq, the Emirati spoken-word poet and artist, will host the December 5 event. Expect performers from the UAE, Palestine, Pakistan, the Philippines and Kuwait. Tickets are free, but online reservation is required.
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