DHAHRAN: The celebrations for the 91st Saudi National Day continued this week with festivities in schools, homes, malls and other locations across the Kingdom.
Many neighborhoods marked the anniversary of the founding of the nation, which is celebrated each year on Sept. 23, in dazzling fashion, with residences and businesses adorned with lights, flags and decorations in the traditional Saudi colors of green and white.
One of the oldest known residential areas in the Kingdom, the Saudi Aramco compound in Dhahran, went a step further by holding a National Day decorating contest, in which the occupants of more than 50 houses took part.
Families embraced the challenge and went all out to decorate their homes in creative ways: Lights twinkled in windows, for example, large Saudi flags flew over the roofs of homes, and tables covered with the traditional Sadu fabric offered visitors an assortment of dates, Arabic coffee and traditional sweets.
Einas Al-Ashgar and her husband, Marthad Ba-Abbad, both of whom work for Saudi Aramco, live in the compound with their six-year-old daughter, Joori. They came up with an idea for decorating their home that started small but grew into an eye-catching interactive exhibit inspired by Al-Ashgar’s mother, Munirah Al-Sinani, the owner of one best-known homes in the area, which became a museum.
With the help of friends and family, the couple decorated their front yard with a display of traditional Saudi objects and symbols, including mannequins in Saudi dress, which they described as symbols of unity through diversity. With the help of friend Amal Nabty, they came up with an Arabic slogan for their display, which translates as “Saudi Arabia is more beautiful with its people.”
“This diversity is what has made Saudi Arabia beautiful, from its past heritage and up to its promising future,” said Al-Ashgar.
This evolution of the Kingdom was represented in her family’s display by a canvas decoration showing the front of a traditional Saudi dwelling and a large banner depicting the futuristic megaprojects that are under way as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 development plan.
Visitors flocked to the compound from the wider Dharhran community and beyond to see the many impressive decorations and displays created by the residents. Al-Ashgar and Ba-Abbad served them Arabic coffee and traditional Arabic cookies, as National Day-themed music played in the background.
The family was rewarded for its efforts, which included dressing up in the traditional Eastern Province clothing, with first prize in the decorating contest for a family effort that grew into a community event, and is sure to provide inspiration for their neighbors to come up with even grander ideas for next year’s competition.