American Independence Day has nothing-I repeat nothing-on the United Arab Emirates’ National Day. I love the Fourth of July, because of the symbolism behind it and because, on the Eastern End of Long Island, it means high summer is in full swing. But Independence Day here is lowkey-parties, barbecues, a parade, lots of red, white and blue…just for one day. In the UAE, National Day is a huge deal, and the celebrations never seem to end.
I was fortunate enough to visit Dubai whilst National Day celebrztions were going on (the official date is December 2nd). This year marked the 44th anniversary of the UAE’s formation as an actual unified country (kinda like the USA, it is made up of 7 emirates with their own leader; Abu Dhabi is host to the official government that reps the country abroad). The rulerd of Dubai and Abu Dhabi pulled out all the stops, leaving no building unlit and no construction crane unfestooned with the red, white, green and black of the national flag.
Pop-up events took place all over, like at Dubai Studio City, where I met this friendly camel. Besides camel racing or the occasional desert sojourn, camels are not a common site in glitzy Dubai!
Flags were planted at Kite Beach, making a spectacular site at sunset and a perfect spot for people to take selfies: At Global Village there were singers and dancers performing traditional songs.
Dubai’s many mega malls were decked out in flags, flags and more flags:
In Dubai one has no choice but to spend some time on the road, and there were plenty of decorations to see from the car. From endless neon signs to row after row of flags, there was no shortage of roadside attractions. Even the gas station vonvenience stores were stocked with Emirati flags, tee shirts and tchchotkes.
Most amusingly were the cars that were decorated just for the occasion, like the one below. Others had a fullbody paint job depicting the sheikhs themselves!
I wonder how long he’s gonna keep his car like that?
Even the Palm Jumeirah, the world’s only 7-star hotel, got a banner on it’s side. They may be a tiny, relatively young nation, but if I learned anything, it’s that the Emiratis have a lot of Pride and aren’t afraid to show it!