Live updates: follow the latest news on UAE National Day 2021
Today is the UAE's National Day, with the country putting on a special calendar of events to celebrate its Golden Jubilee.
Most people will have the day off as both the public and private sector have been granted a four-day holiday.
The National found out the best places to gather for the festivities.
1. Expo 2020 Dubai
A seasonal festive pass for December costs Dh95, although children, students, people over 60 and disabled people are free. Nannies and drivers can also get season passes at no cost.
Gates to Expo 2020 will open at 9am and close at 2am throughout the National Day weekend.
Key events on Thursday
10.15am — As well as a flag-raising ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza, there will be high-level speeches, the National Anthem performed by a children’s choir, Al Azi poetry recitals and a traditional performance involving 60 Emirati men from all seven emirates.
12.45pm — Colours of the World Parade, featuring horses of Dubai Police and the UAE Ministry of Interior Marching Band.
1pm — Another performance of Al Azi will take place at Al Wasl Plaza. The show involves an Arabic poet leading a chorus that ‘answers’ his call.
Shortly afterwards, Dubai Police will perform a gravity-defying aerial show. This will be followed by a flyover display by the UAE Air Force aerobatics team Al Fursan.
3.15pm — Emirati singer Fatima Zahrat Alain will perform a Music in the Garden in Al Wasl Plaza.
4pm, 5pm and 6pm — Journey of a Thread live stage show at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre in the Al Forsan Zone. This takes place every day during the National Day weekend.
5.30pm — The UAE's official 50th National Day celebrations from Hatta broadcast live at the Jubilee Stage and the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre.
7.30pm and 10.15pm (Thursday to Saturday) — The Journey of the 50 stage show involving more than 200 people in Al Wasl Plaza. This also takes place at 7pm on Wednesday.
8pm — Fireworks over Al Wasl Avenue on all four days of the National Day weekend.
8.30pm — Emirati singer Eida Al Menhali will get the festivities under way with a rousing performance which includes Al Shallat — poetry without musical instruments, on the Jubilee Stage.
Visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai are required to have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, or a negative result from a test taken within 72 hours. PCR tests are free if you present your ticket at the DHA Expo 2020 Testing Facility.
This event is not open to the public on National Day, but can be watched on the UAE's National Day website and all local TV channels, or on screens at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Proof of two vaccinations or a negative PCR test taken within the 72 hours before the event is required to attend.
3. Bluewaters Island — Dubai
There are dozens of events taking place in Dubai, at malls, hotels and restaurants.
The skies will light up as fireworks are launched from a range of locations, including the Burj Al Arab, The Pointe near Atlantis and The Palm on Palm Jumeirah.
One of the most dramatic locations to celebrate will be at Bluewaters Island, where there will be three light shows at the newly opened Ain Dubai from 6.30pm to 10pm from Wednesday to Friday.
Organisers have also planned shows by Al Ayala performers, traditional Emirati musicians and falconry experts from 3pm besides the telecast of the official Hatta celebration on big screens here.
To top it off, a three-minute firework show will take place at 8.30pm on Thursday.
If the evening is clear, visitors on both the wheel and the shore, should be able to see several simultaneous firework displays along the coast.
Extensive underground parking is available at Bluewaters Island, and it is also possible to walk over the pedestrian bridge from JBR The Beach.
Visitors are not required to show proof of vaccination, or evidence of a negative PCR test.
4. Yas Island — Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi will mark the occasion with fireworks on the Corniche and Yas Island at 9pm, with Al Maryah Island and Bawabat Al Sharq Mall also hosting events. Al Ain and Al Dhafra will launch fireworks at 9pm.
Yas Island is probably the best place to celebrate in the capital. Live entertainment will start at 5pm and run until 10pm, while a spectacular fireworks show is scheduled for 9pm.
The celebrations will mark the first in-person display since the beginning of the pandemic, although health and safety measures will still be in place.
In Abu Dhabi, for all those aged 16 and over, a green pass on your Al Hosn app is required to enter most malls, hotels, restaurants, attractions and events, including Yas Island.
5. Global Village
This family-friendly venue is fantastic location to celebrate National Day, with cheap tickets and a wide range of festivities.
The vast space has a new look, a revamped floating market and a sweet Railway Market, plus look out for the fire-breathing dragon.
Special National Day events will start just before sunset at 5pm, when visitors will be treated to “a surprise daylight spectacular”, featuring the UAE colours “as you have never seen them before".
Live music concerts on the main stage on Thursday include the Luminous Years National Day operetta performed by the Ornina Theatrical Dance Company.
The show, featuring voice-overs by Emirati stars Habib Ghuloom and Fatma Alblooshi, will start at 6pm.
Afterwards, the National Youth Orchestra Dubai will play its unique rendition of the UAE national anthem as well as popular classical pieces during a 60-minute-long concert.
The group includes 60 young musicians, aged 5 to 17 years, from over 25 nationalities and led by conductor Munir Bakieh.
To cap off a night of celebrations, there will be a musical firework displays at 9pm on Thursday, and on Wednesday and Friday.
Global Village is open from 4pm to 1am every day, and tickets cost Dh15 online and Dh20 at the gate.
Guests are asked to wear a face mask at all times, and to respect social distancing, but PCR tests or proof of Covid-19 vaccination are not required for entry.
There is extensive parking available at Global Village, or there are four RTA bus routes via the park.