Wave of green and white across Saudi Arabia as kingdom celebrates National Day

Brands launched discounts and Saudis attended events to mark the 91st anniversary of the kingdom's founding

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Saudi Arabia marked its 91st National Day by festooning buildings with lights and putting on impressive aerial displays as residents and Saudis enjoyed a public holiday on Thursday.

Heritage and municipality buildings across the kingdom shone brightly with green illuminations, the national flag and mosaic pictures of Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"Everywhere you look it's a celebration! The streets, billboards, parks and malls, are adorned in green and white. I made a green abaya for National Day and my girls are wearing green and white dresses," said Lina Otaibi, a Saudi national living in Jeddah.

"When I was at the mall last night, they were blasting national songs, kids were being given free green and white balloons, caps and sweets. Everyone is just happy. The kids don't have school and we have a long weekend so it gives us time to go out and enjoy the festivities with our family."

Before the public holiday began, employees celebrated in offices.

"We had early morning celebrations in our offices yesterday, as we have a public holiday today in the kingdom," Amaar Mohammed, a government official in Riyadh, told The National. "We had a few artists perform the traditional songs and sword dance.

"Today we celebrate National Day with family and friends. Everyone is excited for the air shows, fireworks and to celebrate our progress and leadership together," he said.

The Saudi Hawks, a fleet of the Royal Saudi Air Force aerobatic display team painted in green and white, flew over the main cities of the kingdom including Jeddah and Taif on Tuesday, the first of a collection of air displays planned for the week.

"It was incredible. My grandfather was with me, you could see people of all ages just blown away and happy to be celebrating national day together," said Haya, who did not give her last name. She watched the air show on Tuesday in Jeddah.

The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with General Entertainment Authority, was due to put on an hour-long military parade where Saudi women officers participated for the first time in history. The parade was also due to feature cars used in different eras by various Saudi kings, as well as horses and musical bands.

A display of fireworks was due to be held across 13 cities in the kingdom. An hour-long show was set to take place near the North Industrial Building in Riyadh and the city's King Fahd Cultural Centre was hosting cultural events and concerts.

Brands of all stripes launched discounts and promotions to celebrate the occasion. "It makes me happy to give back and contribute to society. I have seen many stores, even food delivery apps give a discount so I was encouraged to do the same," said Heba Albakr, a Saudi baker in Jeddah.

Zadk Academy, a culinary school in Saudi Arabia, broke the world record for making the world's largest flag made up of 15,000 cupcakes in Khobar.

Saudis and residents, including foreign ambassadors and diplomats, are using the trending hashtag #اليوم_الوطني_السعودي (Saudi National Day) to update their social media feeds about the latest celebrations.

The Indian consulate created a short compilation of videos interviewing Indians living in the kingdom to celebrate 75 years of India-Saudi friendship.

Updated: September 23, 2021, 1:48 PM