UAE National Day 2019 - The Beautiful Celebrations that Commemorate the Emirati Unification

Fireworks, parades and car rallies, the UAE National Day has it all. If you are planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates then make sure to plan your trip around 2nd December, the UAE national day. The experience of touring this country during this grand-scale celebration will leave you amazed. All the major cities are decked in the hues of the national flag. The Burj Khalifa, clad in red, green, black and white is a sight to behold. The traditional cuisine and local articles rule the markets which have come to the street, literally. In 2020 it will be an even more grand celebration because the government has approved a three-day-long break by combining the commemoration day holiday. 
UAE National Day Date: December 2nd


The UAE National Day was first celebrated on 2nd December 1971, the flag of the UAE was raised over a hostel building which is now recognised as the Union house. When all the seven emirates which constitute the United Arab Emirates today came together. In December 1971, the rulers of the other six emirates, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Al-Ain, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain, came together to sign the unification agreement. The last emirate decided to join the federation was Ras Al Khaimah the next day. The unification was led by Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan- the founding father and the first President of the UAE. The national day is celebrated to express a sense of solidarity and nationality among the members of the country, the citizens celebrate the “Spirit of the Union” on this day. It was on this very day in 1968, that the British Protectorate treaties were signed.

Celebrations and Customs 

Flag Hoisting, UAE National Day
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The UAE National Day is marked by a number of celebrations from parades to live performances, it is a fun and exciting day. Here's some of the celebrations:
  • The national anthem of the country is sung followed by the flag hoisting.
  • The kaleidoscopic parades that showcase the cultural and traditional practices of the UAE are a sight to behold. In the parade, you will get to see floats, drummers, traditionally dressed men and women, marching bands.
  • Dress in Patriotic Colours: The people of this country, whether kids or adults all dress up in the colours of the national flag.
  • Fireworks: Many major spots in the whole country are lit up with dazzling fireworks at night. Whether you are in Sharjah or Abu Dhabi you can view these amazing fireworks, given below is a complete list of the places where you can watch fireworks.
  • Car Parade: If you are a person who likes to be in the middle of all the bustle and celebrations, then the car parade will be the perfect opportunity for you. Many of the car owners decorate their cars by painting their car hoods in the national colours, national flags and flowers. 

Places to Celebrate UAE National Day

On this day, there is no dearth of options for you to choose your favourite activity. The only bit of advice to keep in mind is that the streets get very and there are diversions announced in many cities so don’t plan back to back things with no time to breathe. Given below is a list of activities that you can take part in.

1. Malls in UAE

Dubai Festival City
A fun way of enjoying the UAE national day is by heading to one of the amazing malls in Dubai. The shopping deals that you will find here will blow away your mind. During the national day celebration period, you can get around 60% to 90% off. Apart from the great deals another reason for visiting the malls are that you will get to enjoy a number of cultural activities that will be taking place. You will come across things like a cultural band playing traditional Arabic music while going around in the mall. For enjoying all this you can head to Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif, The Outlet Village and City Walk 2. The best mall to head towards will be the Dubai Festival City Mall because here you will get to watch amazing fireworks free of cost. The Dubai Mall will bring to you the traditional hospitality of the UAE, with dates and coffee. There will also be a demonstration of cultural practices such as pearl harvesting shows, henna painting and many more. 
Timings: All Day
Entry Fee: Not applicable, individual activities may be charged.

2. Parades

The UAE national day parade is a spectacle that no one can miss. In Dubai, you can enjoy a parade in 

1. Rashid Boulevard: The parade at Rashid Boulevard is hands down the grandest one that takes place. It consists of the Dubai Police’s parade, the brass and drum section, cars from various government departments, floats of elephants, Bengal tiger and cricket bats, and dancers dressed up in their artform’s traditional attire. Along with these, there is also a section of floats dedicated to architectural marvel such as the Taj Mahal, the Big and Burj Al Arab. To follow this up we have people dressed up as iconic characters like Marilyn Munroe and Superman.
Location: Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai
Entry Fees: Not Applicable
2. Al Seef: At Al Seef, you will get to watch the Dubai Police Marching Band.  Each segment of the Dubai police is represented in the march. 
Location: Al Seef, Dubai
Entry Fee: Not Applicable
3. Dubai Parks and Resorts: If you wish to go for something a little more grand and boisterous then Dubai Parks and Resort is the perfect choice for you. The circus parade complete with unicyclists will be a great experience for children and adults alike. Apart from this, the place is home to Legoland and Motiongate in case you wish to add more adventure to your trip.
Location: Dubai Parks and Resorts - Sheikh Zayed Road
Entry Fee: It is dependent on the park entrance fee.

3. Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain

Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains
Visiting the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain is on everybody’s list when they go to Dubai, but seeing these during the UAE National Day celebrations is something no one should miss. The Burj Khalifa will light up in the colours of the national flag, while Dubai Fountains will play a show choreographed to the national anthem. 
Timings: Three shows starting at 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Location:  1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd - Dubai
Entry Fee: Not applicable 

4. Fireworks 

Fireworks are an important part of the UAE national day festivities and happen at more than a dozen places. So listed here are some of the best fireworks in the UAE:
Timings: 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm

-La Mer: You can also enjoy a free concert after the fireworks.
-Zayed Heritage Festival
-Dubai Festival City Mall: Don’t miss IMAGINE show that will happen right after the fireworks.
-Al Seef
-Abu Dhabi Corniche
-The Beach, JBR: For the most spectacular view of the celebration, go to the balcony section of the Roxy cinemas.
-Hazza bin Zayed Stadium

5. Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah
When celebrating the national day at Palm Jumeirah, head directly to The Pointe. Here you will get to enjoy the national day along with live music, good food and amazing fireworks. Along with these take in the natural beauty of the promenade while enjoying traditional music from local singers. You might also find some souvenirs for cheap prices because of the national day discounts.
Location:  Palm Jumeirah - Al Mirziban
Timings: Fireworks start at 8:00 pm

6. Dubai Garden Centre

Dubai Garden
The national day celebrations is not a one-day affair, head down to the Dubai Garden centre on 1st December to get yourself in the festive mood. If you want to enjoy the richness of Arabic cuisine, then there can be no better place, because here you get to sample authentic Arabic food for free. If you like it then you can buy more to gobble up the whole thing with your friends and family. Apart from this, enjoy the cultural performances of dance and music that are taking place while getting a henna tattoo.
Location: 739 Sheikh Zayed Rd 
Timings: 10:00 am to 2:30 pm

7. Yas Marina Circuit

Yas Marina Hotel
If you get a chance do hit the Yas Marina Circuit because even though you won’t get to see cars chasing each other you will get a chance to experience a number of cultural activities. Since the Grand Prix would have ended only a few days ago, the excitement would still be going strong that will transform your experience of Yas Marina. The plethora of activities that Yas Marina will be hosting includes, fireworks, live stage music, heritage Village, traditional Emirati kitchen, a wide variety of food trucks and many more things.
Location: Abu Dhabi
Timings: 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Entry Fee: Available through online registration

8. Emirati Poetry in the Park

Emirati Poetry
Get lost in the soulful experience of Emirati poetry. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation will be holding a free of cost. The event will be hosting budding local talents along with Hamad Al Bloushi and Hadi Al Mansouri. Along with this, you can also attend other free activities that are going on at the park.
Location: Burj Park
Timings: 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Entry Fee: Not Applicable

9. Cultural Flair at Palm Jumeirah

Cultural Flair
The cultural flair will witness a coming together of musicians, dancers, sculptors and painters to create the most beautiful experience for you. The highlights of the cultural flair are Africa Cultural Pavilion and Art Nights which will last over two consecutive weekends. The Africa Cultural Pavilion will be a musical night with live hip hop, jazz and afrobeat filling the air.
Location: Golden Mile Galleria Palm, Jumeirah, Dubai

10. Al Fursan Air Show

Air Show, UAE National Day
Before the sky is lit up by the fireworks at night, it is replete with planes from the country’s air force and even some airlines. The whole flight lasts from Ras Al Khaimah to Abu Dhabi and will leave you in awe of the pilots’ prowess. The Al Fursan Aerobatic team puts on a colourful and amazing show that you should not miss.
Location: Anywhere between Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi
Entry Fee: Not Applicable

11. Global Village

Global Village
On the occasion of the National Day, the Global village organises a series of events for you to enjoy with your family including free henna drawing and face painting. In 2019, the Global Village hosted the largest number of participants for reciting the National Anthem. Seeing so many people singing their national anthem is a mesmerising scene worth witnessing. The feeling of nationalism can be felt in the air. The streets are turned into a market where you can find everything that locals need. The guests are welcomed in the traditional style with coffee and dates.
Location: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Dubai
Timings: Fireworks and performances will start at 9:00 pm.
Entry Fee: AED 15 for adults. Entry for children below three and adults above 65 is free
The experience of the UAE National Day is something that will remain with you for a very long time. It adds that extra layer of excitement to everything that is there to enjoy in the UAE. We hope this guide will help you in planning a fun trip with your friends or family.

This post was published by Ananya Sinha

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