Social media posts show how Saudis welcomed national day festivities

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Saudi Arabia is celebrating its National Day with an array of family-friendly festivities, including allowing women to enter the main stadium in the capital, Riyadh, for the first time, to see a performance recounting the country's founding 87 years ago.

The King Fahd stadium has previously been reserved for male-only crowds to watch football matches.

The kingdom has planned several days of festivities which started on Saturday across several cities. The General Entertainment Authority, the government agency organizing the National Day festivities, expects some 1.5 million Saudis to attend events in 17 cities over four days.

Vision 2030 reforms are intended to capture up to a quarter of the $20 billion currently spent overseas by Saudis, who are accustomed to travelling abroad to see shows and visit amusement parks in nearby tourist hub Dubai or further afield.

Here are the top videos and photos that were shared in the past couple of days:

Flash-mob Samri-style at King Khalid International Airport:

Saudi Arabia General Entertainment Authority received passengers arriving at King Khalid International Airport who were picking up their bags with songs and rhythms of the Samari genre, amid the amazement and admiration of the arrivals and airport staff.

King Fahd International Stadium opens to families for the first time:

Saudi Arabia celebrated the 87th anniversary of its foundation on Saturday with a big program of concerts and performances, including a pageant operetta which allowed women and families to enter the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh for the first time.

“It is the first time I have come to the stadium and I feel like more of a Saudi citizen. Now I can go everywhere in my country,” said 25-year-old Sultana, green and white flags painted on both cheeks as she entered the complex with her girlfriends.

The operetta on Saturday told the story of the founding of the modern Saudi state by Ibn Saud, King Salman's father, following a series of territorial conquests and eight years before the discovery of oil opened the way to making the new kingdom the world's top oil exporter.

Saudi pilot takes to Turkish skies:

A video of one Saudi pilot paragliding through the skies of Turkey while holding a Saudi flag went viral over the weekend as the kingdom celebrated its 87th national day.

“From the skies of Turkey, I congratulate our kingdom on its 87 national day and I ask Allah to bless stability and safety,” the pilot said.

Filipino expats volunteer alongside Saudi locals:

In a brotherly gesture, 100 Filipino residents of Al-Ahsa volunteered to clean a seaside of Al-Aqeer Beach, to share their joy of the national day festivities alongside Saudi locals.