UAE National Day: List of Events That’ll Leave You Starry Eyed

The National Day of the United Arab Emirates is celebrated on the 2nd of December each year. The significance of the National Day is that it marks the day of the unification of the emirates into a common federation. Of course, residents of the UAE may look forward to a justified break from their hectic corporate lives, and they may enjoy an extended break from all responsibilities from December 1 to 4. The country shall observe Commemoration Day on the 1st of December, followed by the UAE National Day holidays, on December 2 and December 3. 

In order to appreciate the significance of integration of the emirates into a federation, we may quickly look into the concept of what a federation is. The formation of federal states has, of course, been a complicated affair in different international circumstances. In modern international state formations, the United States of America should legitimately be considered to be the oldest federation in the world.

The region has had a long and chequered history. In the early modern period, the region came to be controlled by the dominating colonial actors of the time, including the Portuguese, then the Ottoman empire, and finally the British. In the nineteenth century, a series of agreements were signed with rulers in the region which sought to regulate the region in order to prevent piracy, and allow for peace. Prior to 1971, the Sheikdoms of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah,and Ras Al Khaimah were held in the form of a British protectorate.

After assuming power on August 6 1966, the then ruler of Abu Dhabi, Shaykh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nayhan declared the importance of having a union. In 1968, the British Government, with the decline of its imperial sovereignty, understood the need to devolve power and withdraw its hold from the Trucial States, and leave the Gulf by no later than 1971. This very decision initiated a political vacuum, that contained within it the seeds of a potential federation being formed in the future. The need was felt to have a socio-economic establishment that was more binding in nature than the existing Trucial States Council. Sheikh Zayed, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, along with the then ruler of Dubai initiated the move towards establishing a federation.

This finally culminated in a meeting at Al Sameeh in 1968, where the two Sheikhs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi agreed to bring their respective Emirates together in to a union and to jointly conduct foreign affairs, defense and security. Eventually, the rulers of the six Trucial States decided to form the United Arab Emirates at a meeting in July 1971. It was finally institutionalized with the adoption of the Provisional Constitution, specifying the powers that were to be vested in the new federal institutions.

UAE National Day: Events that have been planned

The National day events that are supposed to be held shall be added in spectacle this year, as the UAE is celebrating its golden jubilee in 2021. Plenty of fireworks have been planned across the UAE.

  • UAE National Day Celebrations in Dubai: Several fireworks will be taking place across Dubai over the National Day weekend. Three displays of the fireworks will take place at Dubai across the scheduled time of 8pm, 8.30 pm, and 9pm on the dates of December 2 and 3. Displays of fireworks have also been arranged by the organizers of the Expo 2020 during a period of 4 days from December 1 to December 4.
  • UAE National Day Celebrations in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will be observing fireworks displays across the city. There will be a show at the Corniche as well as the Yas Island, as well as in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.
  • UAE National Day Celebrations in Sharjah: The celebrations at Sharjah shall commence a bit early on the days from November 26 to November 29. The events shall take place in Kalba, Al Bataeh. The fireworks shall be visible on the 26th of November at the Kalba. This shall be followed by a parade of classic cars in the region, along with fireworks lighting up the sky.

In addition to the fireworks, there are several other programmes that have been lined up too:

  • Expo 2020: The extravaganza that is the Dubai Expo 2020 will showcase a number of events in observation of the special days. Local and international artists of repute in their respective fields are set to perform at the Dubai Millenium ampitheater. A parade of horses will be drawn to entertain the crowd, a musical police band shall render its performance, and a spectacular airshow shall take place at al-Wasl Plaza. A day pass at the Expo 2020 shall come at a cost of AED 95.
  • At the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, an exhibition shall be organized by the acclaimed writer and architect Todd Reisz. It shall seek to replicate older photographic models of the city during its earlier stages. This exhibition shall be set to continue till the March of 2022.
  • Emirates Sports in 50 years: This exhibition is being organized by the General Authority of Sports, which shall seek to shed light on notable moments across the history of the sporting community of the UAE. This is being held under the auspices of the General Sports Authority, and organized by BP Sport for Sports Services. The participation of 54 sports bodies is being observed. Press statements have clarified that the organizing committee received applications from international clubs of repute, as well as international players or coaches who have been involved in professional levels with Emirati clubs. The Egyptian club Zamalek, the Sudanese clubs Al-hilal and Al-Marikh and the Iraqi club Al Zawra are some of the prominent clubs that shall be participating in the special pavilions of the fiftieth exhibition of Emirates Sports. A major catch for the Emirates Sports program is that the premier La Liga clubs Atletico Madrid and Villareal shall also be participating in the exhibition. There are efforts underway to attract a number of top notch Premier League clubs. Apart from top football talent, professional boxers, athletes and other sports stars are expected to be in attendance at the event of Dubai World Trade Centre.
  • Italian street races in the UAE: A fleet of vintage supercars shall be transported to the UAE to mark the ongoing celebrations of the 50th anniversary. The UAE is about to host the Mille Miglia, that shall commence from the 5th of December. It shall be the first time that the event is being hosted in the Middle East. It is a traditional Italian motorsport competition, that has been described by motor enthusiasts as the most charming auto race in the world. The Dubai Police shall also take part in a grand tour of Italy. The Mille Miglia experience, held in collaboration between the UAE Nation Brand Office, Octanium and Mille Miglia will be in the form of a regularity race, where prizes shall be awarded for completing stages on time. The participation of the Dubai Police, along with some of the fast and expensive supercars that it boasts of, will represent a spectacular addition to the vintage racing cars in the 94th 1000 Miglia. The race shall see participation from 50 teams across the world, and 50 drivers from across the Arab world who shall tour the UAE in 100 landmark automobiles over 1000 miles.
  • Official celebration in Hatta: The Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee announced that the official ceremony will take place at Hatta. In case the people wish to enjoy the programme online, they can watch it live on the 2nd of December on the UAE National Day official website, and on all local TV channels. The theatrical show that is being planned will take viewers on a journey from the early times to the contemporary in the history of the land, and shall be open to the public.
  • Performance by Hussain Al Jassmi: The popular Emirati musician, composer and performer Hussain Al Jassmi will entertain the audience with his performance at the Al Majaz Ampitheatre. He shall be accompanied by other eminent performers such as Faisal Al Jasim, Mohammed Al Menhali and Almas. The musical evening shall bring down the curtains to the cultural extravaganza spanning 11 days which are being organized by the Sharjah National Day Celebrations in cities and towns.

In addition to the government initiatives, several private companies have also joined the bandwagon, and have some exciting offers to commemorate the special day. Carrefour, operated by the Majid Al Futtaim in the UAE, is treating the members of the UAE community to giveaways for the celebrations. Carrefour will be serving free ice creams on UAE National Day to neighbourhoods in the Sharjah, Dubai, Ajman etc. The flavours shall be representative of the colours of the UAE flag, which include vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and pistachio. Carrefour is also offering takeaway hampers of AED 2.5 million to over 5000 loyal customers of the brand. In addition, sale of 500 products will be up for offer with discounts of up to 50 per cent being offered on categories such as food and beverage, electronics and much more.

Citizens of the UAE may also indulge them in other forms of festivities and indulgences as mentioned below:

  • Flower displays: FreshtoHome is providing options for fascinating new bouquets, comprising freshly picked flowers that shall be made available specially for the 50th anniversary. These shall be available from a beginning range of AED 35 onwards, and they can be delivered straight to your doorstep.
  • Shopping fiestas: Kibsons is providing offers to clients in order to honour the Spirit of the Union. If the order is placed within a delivery date between December 1 to 3, a substantial discount of up to 50% may be enjoyed on more than 100 brands. The offer will go live from November 30.
  • Picnic at the palace: Families as well as groups of friends can collect at the Emirates Palace’s lush gardens with views of the National Day Air show. The National Day Picnic Experience shall experience a spread of gourmet dishes, and non-alcoholic drinks that shall begin from AED 400 per guest.
  • Cake Cutting: The Lapita Dubai Parks and Resorts shall hold celebrations for its esteemed guests, who shall be invited to join a National Day cake cutting ceremony which shall happen at the time of breakfast. Guests can partake of Emirati treats, or they may go to Kalea, where a special Emirati band performance shall be held.


Thus, the 4-day period represents a good opportunity to not just take a break from the hectic corporate schedules, but also to engage in festivity, as well as view the spectacular fireworks, and auto events. This UAE public holiday should be observed as an important landmark in the development of the Emirati community as a whole.