DUBAI // The UAE flag was unfurled and raised at offices, wrapped around a public bus, illuminated in workspaces and stretched across villas and apartment buildings to show solidarity with the country’s Flag Day celebrations.
Large flags, flags with lights, and even abayas emblazoned with flags were showcased across Dubai in the spirit of nationalism and unity by Emiratis and expatriates alike.
“There is a sort of symbolism with flags because you remember what unites us, you remember all that Sheikh Khalifa has done for us and how we have grown as a country and people,” said Emirati comedian Ali Al Sayed who performs shows in the UAE and overseas.
“Flag Day is an important tradition and it also fun for kids because now they have a day to check out all the flags. I remember when I was a kid on National Day, my dad would drive us to Abu Dhabi and we would be so excited to see the colours of the flag everywhere.”
Staff at Mr Al Sayed’s office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers office installed a sparkling light display in the shape of the UAE flag to mark the occasion.
University students and government staff posed for photographs in open spaces holding aloft large flags. The national anthem was also sung in several government offices and colleges while an RTA bus decorated with the UAE flag was driven around Dubai on Monday.
Restaurants also distributed satin flags to customers adding to the festivities.
“Customers really like the atmosphere and are taking pictures with our staff who are wearing satin flags on their waistcoat, plus we have flags on all the tables,” said Chadi Khichen, a Lebanese food and beverage manager for Emirati-owned Bin Hadher hospitality that runs Bikers Cafe and Hugo Cafe in Dubai.
“We also feel it the same as the local people because when you see the importance they are giving this occasion, you want to share in it because of what the country has offered you. We feel the emotion too. Our country is not stable now so it’s good to see and feel how local people are celebrating this day.”
Emirati designer Mariam Al Medfaei decorated an abaya with the UAE’s colours to commemorate the day and also raised a 15-metre long flag outside her Jumeirah boutique.
“This day gives awareness to even the people who are not Emiratis; it gives them the spirit of this day,” said Ms Al Medfaei, co-founder of fashion company 1001 Abayas.
“They belong in the UAE and also share in the happiness and celebrations with us. Unity means power and this is the most important part of the UAE because without uniting we wouldn’t have reached where we are today. We work as one country now with team work and this makes a better country. Flag Day emphasizes the love for the country, the love for the government.
“It gives you pride to live in the UAE, it gives you reassurance and you also feel secure. It reminds you every year of citizenship, what it means to be part of a nation. It is a power.”
November 3, marks the day Sheikh Khalifa became UAE President and the Flag Day initiative was started on that date last year by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.