ABU DHABI // Firework displays lit up the capital’s skies as Emiratis and expatriates came together on Friday to enjoy the National Day celebrations.
People poured into the streets to take in the festive atmosphere and show their love for the country, while vehicles were plastered in the colours of the UAE flag and portraits of the leaders.
Crowds gathered on the beach and the parks that line the Corniche, with families and tourists making the most of the extra long public holiday and the perfect winter weather to enjoy picnics and barbecues.
Among them was Saeed Mohammed Abu Eissa, 44, a Jordanian, who was born in the country. He said he celebrates National Day as if the UAE were his native land.
“My father arrived here in this country in 1964, so the UAE is home to me and my family,” he said. “The UAE is the safest country in the world, and my wife and I are blessed to raise our children here.”
Meanwhile, Ziarat Gul, 40, a Dubai government employee from Pakistan who has lived in Dubai for 38 years, chose to spend National Day in the capital with his family.
“Almost every year, we come here to enjoy the National Day celebrations,” he said.
Houses and buildings were draped in large flags, residents wore scarves in the national colours, while others waved small flags with enthusiasm.
Families flocked to Yas Marina Circuit’s Abu Dhabi Hill in the afternoon for a fun day out packed with activities, including oud-playing performances, falconry displays, henna applications, inflatable amusement rides and a fireworks display.
As the day wore on, revellers headed to Al Maryah Island which hosted performances by ayyala, harbia and yola dancers and drummers, as well as Emirati arts and crafts, falconry displays and Arabic calligraphy.
Emirati engineer Abdulrahman Saleh Al Hamadi, 30, who came with his two-year-old daughter, Maha, said National Day offered a chance to renew his country’s traditions and let people know more about their heritage and traditions.
“It’s a treasure for us, and this treasure needs to be passed on to the future generation,” he said. “National Day is an important occasion for us as we commemorate the nation’s union.”