Saudi National Day 2023: Date, celebrations and everything you need to know

Kingdom to celebrate its 93rd birthday with fireworks, flypasts and festivities

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Home to the birthplace of Islam and now undergoing a young social and economic revolution, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates its 93rd birthday on September 23.

Saudis and foreigners who call the kingdom home will celebrate the transformative journey the country has embarked on over the past 93 years and the people who made it happen.

Here is all you need to know about Saudi National Day.

What is the history of Saudi National Day?

In about the year 610, the Makkah-born Prophet Mohammed received God's message to spread Islam and to recognise the unity of the One God (Allah, in Arabic).

Fearing for his life from people plotting to kill him, Prophet Mohammed made his way to a nearby town called Yathrib, which is now known as Madinat Al Nabi (the Prophet's City in Arabic).

The year of Prophet Mohammed's migration from Makkah to Madinah marks the beginning of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Since then, the religion grew and spread from parts of Spain to India and the Far East as more Muslims began settling in Makkah and Madinah.

Saudi Arabia gears up for 91st National Day

Saudi Arabia gears up for 91st National Day

In the early 1700s, a Muslim scholar named Mohammad bin Abdul Wahab began calling for a return to the "true" version of Islam. He and Mohammad bin Saud eventually formed an alliance establishing the first Saudi Arabian state, ruling over what became known as Al Najd, which included Makkah and Madinah.

After a war with the Ottomans, Al Sauds regained lost territory and established Riyadh as their capital before more clashes with the Ottomans in 1865.

Abdulrahman Al Saud, who ruled at the time, sought refuge with the local Bedouins in the deserts of the Empty Quarter.

His son Abdulaziz would later attempt to recapture Riyadh, giving birth to the formation of the modern Saudi state.

On September 23, 1932, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established with Arabic as its national language and the Quran as its constitution.

What celebrations will take place?

In 2016, Vision 2030, a plan to transform the country socially and economically, was born.

Through the plan, announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi leaders aim to completely reshape the kingdom’s economy into one that is self-sufficient, progressive and diversified.

The kingdom recognised National Day for the first time in 2005. Now world leaders are joining together to congratulate Saudi Arabia on its 93rd anniversary.

Saudi National Day celebrations kicked off in all major cities across the kingdom from Wednesday and will last till Sunday.

National Day shows will include military parades, a biker parade and an arms exhibition across major cities.

Streets, schools, universities, public and private spaces will be displaying the green Saudi flag.

Part of the military parade and marches began in Riyadh on Thursday with the participation of various sectors of the Ministry of Interior.

The government is organising a military march and air shows at cities including Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, Al Baha, Tabuk, Abha, Dhahran, Al Jawf, Al Ahsa, Khamis Mushait, Al Khobar and Dammam.

The Eastern and Western fleets of the Royal Saudi Navy will participate in National Day celebrations with marine processions.

Cafes, restaurants, parks and local retailers will also be celebrating Saudi National Day with green and white decor, special offers for the day and activities such as face painting and games for both adults and children.

Hashtag Saudi National Day is trending on social media channels including Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter, with users sharing celebrations throughout the weekend.

The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has announced Saturday, September 23, as an official national holiday for the private and public sector.

Schools and universities will be given an additional day off, Sunday, to celebrate Saudi National Day.

Updated: September 23, 2023, 5:11 AM