Emiratis, expats on what National Day means to them & celebration plans

The United Arab Emirates is celebrating its 45th birthday with a flurry of events across the country on December 2

Saffiya Ansari
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The United Arab Emirates is celebrating its 45th birthday with a flurry of events across the country on December 2.

From fireworks shows, to carnivals, sale sprees and concerts, the day will be celebrated in style by Emiratis and expats alike, waving the black, white, green and red flag, as they enjoy the public holiday.


To mark the occasion, we spoke to Emirati nationals and expats about what the day means to them and how they are showing their love for the country.

Saleh al-Braik, Emirati national

"As an Emirati, national day fills us with more than just pride. It’s the day that our forefathers came together to create this great nation. It’s an example of teamwork and community that has brought us to where we are today. I plan on celebrating national day by continuing to do what I do on a daily basis. To work at my utmost capabilities, and to make a positive change to the world. I currently work at Dubai Tourism, and that’s what we try to do on a daily basis - showcase all we have to offer and how proud we are of our home, to the entire world."

Emilene Parry, British expat

"Over the long weekend, I’ll be going to a friend’s house for a national day-themed BBQ – we are taking advantage of the great weather. I’ve lived in the UAE for 23 years and it’s home to me now, so much so that my designated dish at the gathering is luqaimat – traditional Emirati sweet, deep fried dumplings. We also plan to enjoy the fireworks display at The Beach at JBR, a fun round-off to the day."

Hassan al-Marashi, Emirati national

"National day to me is a day of celebration. We celebrate the founding of this great country that we call home. We celebrate the continued growth of our country. Mostly, we celebrate our fortune to be blessed with such a wonderful home. I typically try to enjoy this holiday with a family lunch of traditional Emirati food, followed by an evening gathering of friends."

C.N. Perry, Canadian expat

"National day is usually celebrated with a car parade, where drivers gather to show off their flag-covered cars, honk their horns and enjoy the day in traffic – which would be hated on any other day. I’ve been in the UAE for 20+ years and it seems as though these parades have become a part of the culture here."

Amal al-Sharqi, Emirati national

"National day is the day when the UAE was born and we are celebrating the UAE’s birthday which was 45 years ago when our fathers, god bless their souls, H.H Shaikh Rashed and H.H Shaikh Zayed, put together the seven emirates as one country. Mostly, we prepare for public celebrations and family gathering as well going to the parades around our city. New clothes will be made for this event and girls and women will put some henna on their hands as part of showing happiness. Cars will be decorated, also houses."

Daphne Vulliez, French expat

"National day for expats is an enjoyable day rather than an important historic date to me. We are happy to enjoy every event around that time: car parade, fireworks, work events etc. But most importantly, we enjoy feeling connected with the nation which is hosting us."

Moza Alkaabi, Emirati national

"Celebrating our national day is one way to express our love and gratefulness to our country. May Allah save United Arab Emirates from any danger and harm."

Ryan Deskoores, Egyptian expat

"I've been here in the country for 23 years and even though I'm Egyptian, I call this country home. I can't wait for the national day to celebrate a great day where the Emirates became united to create a beautiful home I can call mine."

Mohammed Mahmoud Mohamed Hassan, Emirati national

"I’ve learned in many history classes throughout my years in education that history is important in understanding the present. Knowing about the past of the UAE - before it was a state, when we used foreign currencies like the Indian rupee instead of the dirham - and being able to compare it to the country we call home today has allowed me to understand how important national day is for our nation. What I think is really special is the way the many nationalities in the UAE come together to celebrate the day, to that end I will be having a flag-color themed dinner with friends who are both expats and Emiratis to celebrate."

Jaskaran Vir Singh, Indian expat

"I’ve been in Dubai for about 25 years now. Born and raised in this wonderful country and one of the most wonderful experiences has been national day. The togetherness and the richness of the culture that comes out is a site to behold. The celebrations and the happiness reminds me of Diwali (or any other festival) back home. That is how special national day is to me. And I’ll be celebrating national day how I always spend it, going to Jumeriah and joining the maseerah/car parade and having a nice little gathering in the desert at night."

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