Families across the UAE celebrated the Golden Jubilee in style on Thursday, with many kitting themselves out in black, red, green and white in honour of the country’s flag.
Kite Beach in Dubai was packed with residents and tourists from morning to evening as people made the most of the long weekend, enjoying the sun, sea and sand.
Cafes along the popular beach spot also joined in the celebrations and decorated chairs and tables with mini UAE flags.
Well-wishers congratulated the country on its 50th anniversary as they dined, sunbathed and walked along the winding boardwalk adjacent to the beach.
One family out enjoying a group bike ride took the celebrations a step further by flying a large UAE flag while blasting out Arabic music from a boom box attached to their lead bicycle.
Pradeep Madishetty, 36, and his wife, Pratima, said they always celebrate UAE National Day together. They were joined at the beach by their son Pradyun, 7.
“Living in the UAE for 13 years I have not missed a National Day celebration yet,” he said.
“We don't usually decorate our house with the colours of the UAE but this year we did to pay homage to a place we call home.”
Over the weekend, the family plans to eat Arab food and will head to Expo 2020 Dubai for the first time to watch the fireworks display on Friday.
For Mahesh Basolay, it was an emotional day. A resident in Dubai for 16 years, he said his two daughters were born here and it was an "honour to mark five decades of greatness” in the UAE.
“You hear many expats say this is their second home, but actually for me, I say it is my first home. I started my family here and I plan on staying for a long time,” he said.
“We are spending today in Dubai and will head to Khorfakkan and then Jebel Jais tomorrow. It makes sense to visit some of the other emirates for this Golden Jubilee weekend as it is a little country that has lots to offer."
Citywalk, a popular place with Emiratis, residents and tourists, was also buzzing with activity for National Day.
Many children were dressed in outfits that featured the colours of the UAE flag.
Tasneem Murtaza, 43, from India, was celebrating the day with her two children at Citywalk. The UAE has been her home for 20 years.
"It's like I'm celebrating my own national day. All of us have grown with the country. It has made so much progress and so have the people," said Ms Murtaza, who runs an events company.
"My children were born and brought up here. This is where they want their lives to be. So, the National Day means a lot to us and we are looking forward to an even brighter future of the country."
Rajeev Kunujummen, 42, also from India, was at Citywalk to celebrate the day with his wife and two children.
He has lived in Dubai for 18 years and said they were proud of the UAE's rapid progress.
"This is our home and we are very happy to be living here. I came here a long time [ago] and this is where I met my wife and we got married. We have a lot of memories here," he said.
"We've seen how quickly the country progressed and all of the fast developments here. It's incredible."