How to celebrate Saudi National Day in the UAE

The UAE is celebrating the Saudi National Day with a bunch of exciting activities. (File/Emirates)
Updated 12 September 2019

How to celebrate Saudi National Day in the UAE

  • The Saudi National Day will be celebrated in Dubai with fireworks and several musical acts
  • The Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi will be dressed up with Saudi-inspired decorations

DUBAI: As seen in the past years, the Saudi National Day, marked every Sept. 23, has been widely celebrated by different countries, not just in the region, but in the world. 

As its 89th year celebration approaches, we look at upcoming celebrations, as well as a quick throwback to what countries did last year to mark the momentous day. 

Here are several things in store in the UAE this year, for those keen to join in the celebration.

Fireworks display

The skies of Dubai will light up with a magnificent firework display at The Beach in JBR and The Pointe at Palm Jumeirah. A light and laser show will also be hosted at the Dubai Festival City, as traditional Saudi music blasts through the venue. 

Musical acts

Emirati singes Shamma Hamdan and Balqees are performing separately, serenading the Dubai crowd with audience-favorite hits. Hamdan is performing at the City Walk on Sept. 19, and Balqees at La Mer on Sept. 20.

Traditional Saudi dancing will be showcased at Al Seef from Sept. 20 to 23. There will also be henna artists around the venue. Boxpark along Al Wasl will also be showing dance performances, as well as the Last Exit in Al Khawaneej.

Downtown celebrations

Like in any other national days, the Burj Khalifa will light up as the Saudi flag on September 23. It will be complimented with a water spectacle at the Dubai Fountain, as the kingdom’s national anthem is played. Local Saudi bands will also be performing at the Dubai Mall, where Saudi nationals are given massive discounts across the mall’s attractions.

Getaway deals 

Some hotels will offer special deals for Saudi nationals, as well as theme parks such as the IMG Worlds of Adventure. 

Celebrations in the capital

The Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi will be dressed up with decorations of the Saudi flag. There will be cultural performances showcasing the Saudi tradition. 

‘Together Forever’

The important occasion, which commemorates the country’s name changing from the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is also well celebrated outside KSA each year.

Abu Dhabi, last year, decorated 88 police cars with the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE with the words “Together Forever.”

Emirates operated a special one-off A380 service on the routes EK 813 and EK 814 to Riyadh, landing at King Khalid International Airport. The crew handed out scarves emblazoned with the countries’ flags, as well as white roses, to passengers boarding the aircraft.

Etihad used its only Saudi A380 pilot in the world, Wesam Sameer Al Najjar, to fly its Year of Zayed plane to Jeddah, and released a video featuring him. 

In Lebanon, the Pigeons’ Rock, also known as the Rock of Raouché, located in the sea of the western capital of Beirut, was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. The rock, one of the most important Lebanese monuments, was lit during a ceremony attended by Saudi officials.

The celebrations go beyond the region.

The Nasdaq Tower’s electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square was lit up with photos of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In Washington, the Saudi embassy’s National Day bus toured around the capital on the weekend inviting people to its celebrations on Sunday in National Harbor, Maryland.

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in London was lit up in green to mark Saudi National Day, and launched a spectacular and dazzling display of fireworks that decorated the London skies.


American singer/song writer John Legend speaks out against Palestinian suffering

John Legend has spoken out against the occupation of Palestine during a podcast. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2020

American singer/song writer John Legend speaks out against Palestinian suffering

  • Legend spoke on Palestinian rights during a podcast with the online news platform The Intercept earlier this week

DUBAI: The American singer-song writer, John Legend, has spoken out against the occupation of Palestine during a podcast.

“That’s a baseline for human position,” Legend said on Palestinian rights during a podcast with the online news platform The Intercept earlier this week. 

The 41-year-old artist, according to the host Mehdi Hasan, is one of the few celebrities who has linked the fight for human rights, civil liberties, the fight against detention and mass incarceration in the US and in “the occupied Palestinian territories.” “How did you come to that position?” the host asked. 

“There should not be a whole group of people in a county, just because of their nationality or religion, being held in open-air prisons, denied freedom of movement and having their land annexed by settlers. That’s just a human position,” the “All of Me” singer replied. 

“I think, as someone who is observing what’s going on, and saying ‘This is right,’ or ‘This is wrong,’ clearly it’s wrong what is happening to the Palestinians, it’s so obvious,” he added. “Anybody who doesn’t believe that’s the case is being willfully blind, I believe.”

It is not the first time the award-winning star has spoken out in favor of Palestinian rights. 

Last year, Legend appeared on the political panel show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” in which he said: “As progressives, we should also speak up for human rights for Palestinians, and for too long, I think, it has been out of bounds for progressives to speak up for the rights of Palestinians.”