Live updates: follow the latest news on UAE National Day 2021
The UAE's National Day will be extra special this year as it coincides with the country's Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years since the founding of the Emirates.
Official celebrations are set to take place, including a theatrical live show, and employees from both the public and private sectors will have several days off work.
Here is all you need to know about the public holiday.
When is the UAE's National Day?
The UAE's National Day is celebrated on December 2 every year.
This year, National Day falls on a Thursday, the end of the working week in the UAE.
It is preceded by Commemoration Day, which falls on November 30, but is typically held on December 1. The day is dedicated to those who lost their lives serving the country.
This means many employees across the country will receive three days off, beginning on Wednesday, December 1, with Commemoration Day, followed by two public holidays to mark National Day on December 2 and 3.
As December 4 is a Saturday, many residents will be treated to a four-day break from work.
Why does the UAE celebrate National Day?
The UAE celebrates National Day to commemorate the formation of the country in 1971.
The holiday marks the day that six emirates bound together to form the UAE, with Ras Al Khaimah joining as the seventh and final emirate the following year.
Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, led efforts to unite the emirates and became the first president.
His son, Sheikh Khalifa, has served as president since 2004.
This year marks 50 years since the country’s foundation, an anniversary the government has commemorated with its UAE at 50 initiatives.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, described National Day as “a historic day that marks a milestone for our country’s achievements".
"We pay tribute to the past 50 years of the founding of our country and together work towards the centenary," he said.
What events are planned for National Day 2021?
The official 50th National Day celebration is taking place in Hatta, the Dubai exclave that is home to some of the country’s most stunning landscape, including the Hajar mountains and Hatta reservoir.
The show will take place on a floating stage within a special lake built in the middle of Hatta Dam at 5.30pm on December 2. It is set to feature songs and poetry, light displays, water projections and fireworks, all designed around the theme of the relationship between the Emirati people and nature.
Elsewhere in the UAE, residents can enjoy a range of firework displays and events.
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.
Dubai skies will light up as fireworks launch from a range of locations, including The Pointe, Atlantis, The Palm on Palm Jumeirah and Bluewaters Island.
Firework displays will take place at Expo 2020 Dubai at Al Wasl Avenue at 8pm, Wednesday to Saturday.
Individual Expo 2020 Dubai pavilions may also stage their own events.
On Bluewaters Island, there will be three hourly light shows at Ain Dubai from 6.30pm to 10pm from December 1 to 3, and a three-minute firework show at 8.30pm on December 2.
Sharjah and the other Northern Emirates are also hosting their own festivities.
What happened last year?
Last year the UAE celebrated its 49th National Day under the theme "Seeds of the Union" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Abu Dhabi hosted the Seeds of the Union visual show among the mangroves on Jubail Island. The event featured a giant, rotating cube that projected images of the country’s past and future.
Light shows were also held at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi and the Museum of the Future in Dubai.
Although the Al Fursan Air Show and firework display at Dubai’s The Pointe were cancelled due to Covid-19, the day was capped by spectacular events elsewhere in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
What are the Covid-19 rules for the UAE’s 50th National Day events?
Authorities have announced precautionary Covid-19 rules for National Day.
Events and gatherings will require negative PCR test results, and masks are compulsory.
- This article was originally published on November 14, 2021