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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
— شرطة أبوظبي (@ADPoliceHQ) September 23, 2018
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.
Meet Wesam Sameer Al Najjar, the only Saudi National A380 pilot in the world. Together with Captain Ahmed Almalood from the UAE, he will take our A380 Year of Zayed plane to Jeddah in celebration of the 88th Saudi National Day. pic.twitter.com/cjc5UgQcpP
— Etihad Airways (@EtihadAirways) September 21, 2018
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.
تهنئ #ناسداك_دبي #المملكة_العربية_السعودية بمناسبة اليوم الوطني ال٨٨
Best wishes from #NasdaqDubai to #SaudiArabia on the occasion of the 88th National day#الامارات #اليوم_الوطني_السعودي pic.twitter.com/NjbIIh0L4n
— Nasdaq Dubai (@NasdaqDubai) September 21, 2018
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.