10 Things To Do on UAE National Day
Back in 1972, the United Arab Emirates was born on 2 December when a treaty signed with Britain ended making way for the formation of a union. This union saw six Trucial Sheikhdoms come together as one. These Sheikdoms were Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain; Ras Al Khaimah later joined the union too.
Every year on 2 December we celebrate National Day, the anniversary of the UAE coming together. This year is the 41st National Day and we have sifted through the 10 best things to do during the long National Day weekend. Get out there and celebrate!
1. Dubai Parade
Perhaps the main event to celebrate every National Day is the big parade, and this year will be no different. The Downtown Dubai Parade will see people dressing up in the national colours and waving flags while floats, balloons, lively performers, traditional heritage acts , horses, camels and music groups make their way through the downtown area.
INFO: 3pm to 5pm, 2 December, Emaar Boulevard (near the Burj Khalifa), Dubai.
2. Celebrate as you Shop at Bloomingdale's
Your mind might be thinking about what to get loved ones’ for Christmas but that’s no excuse to miss the National Day festivities. In celebration of the 41st National Day, Bloomingdale’s is marking the occasion by hosting in-store entertainment and offering exclusive commemorative items ranging from fine jewellery by Ghanej, men’s accessories by Denison Boston and the exclusive, signature Bloomingdale's Dubai tote bags – we bet SJP is well-jel these aren’t available in New York. We’ll swap you one for a pair of your shoes!
INFO: 2 December, Bloomingdale’s, The Dubai Mall.
3. Any Excuse to Eat Cake...
Get yourself down to Magnolia Bakery for a coffee-break during all that shopping and give your legs a rest and exercise your chompers with some specially created cupcakes. This nation loves a cupcake (or two), and to commemorate the spirit of the union Magnolia Bakery have got some UAE flag decorated vanilla or chocolate cupcakes, topped with butter cream.
INFO: Magnolia Bakery, The Dubai Mall, available until 2 December, 04 3505 440.
4. Go to a Bollywood Concert
OK, we admit it, we do love the name of this event but we aren’t biased at all, natch. Remember those great dances in the hit Bollywood movie Slumdog Millionaire, of course you do! We loved it and we’ll be going all Bollywood on National Day as Ahlan Bollywood, a concert starring the current reigning queen of Bollywood, Priyanka Chopra, ace playback singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, model-pop singer Sophie Choudry and ‘Veer’ girl Zareen Khan perform at Festival City.
INFO: 8pm, tickets from Dhs180, 2 December, Dubai Festival City, 04 515 222, www.creativehubevents.com.
5. Music Festival at Marina Mall
If rushing around at the Parade and tussling for the best spot in the crowd is not your thing, this might be. Dubai Marina Mall is hosting a Family Music Festival held at the outside promenade to celebrate National Day. Featuring many different types of music including classical, a pop and street musicians playing steel pan drums, didgeridoo and lots more. Get outside now that the mercury has dipped and chill out and sway...
INFO: 3pm to 11pm daily, 29 November to 2 December 2, Dubai Marina Mall Promenade, www.dubaimarinamall.com, 04 436 1020
6. Catch a Cultural Animated Performance
Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC) will be doing performances of Freej Folklore, in both English and Arabic offering the chance for a wide audience to celebrate Arabia culture. The show will bring together music, animation and stage performance for a truly spectacular show which won’t just be fun to watch, but will also give the chance to see the best of Arabian culture. The show is based on popular animated TV series Freej, which has been a hit with kids in the rejoin.
INFO: Free, 3pm (English) 6pm (Arabic), 2 December, DUCTAC (Mall of the Emirates), 04 341 4777, www.ductac.org.
7. See a Fireworks Display
The cities skies are going to come alive to mark National Day. Abu Dhabi will host a spectacular firework display lasting 45 minutes and featuring rockets shooting up to 150-metres into the night sky, lighting it up in patriotic colours. The displays will be visible from the Corniche and across the Emirates Palace Marina and beach front. Everybody loves a fireworks display, this one promises to be bigger and better than ever – of course! So get your shoes on.
INFO: 8.30pm, 2 December, Abu Dhabi.
8. Get Patriotic
All the major malls will be flying the UAE flag high and even handing out free flags and wristbands to celebrate National Day and get in the spirit of the union. Last year the motto, ‘spirit of the union’ was adopted to mark the big four-o, this year that motto has been kept, so show a united front and wave your flag!
INFO: All major shopping malls including Mall of The Emirates, Dubai.
9. Global Village Fair
Global Village will be hosting a plethora of events to mark National Day, so many in fact we don’t know what to recommend. There will be special shows featuring Emirati dances, traditional Areesh huts around the park welcoming guests with Arabic coffee and dates, and the main event will be the Global Village Parade with over 40 global artists in traditional dress. Don’t forget to ride on the Ferris Wheel, with all the other commotion going on we would hate for you to miss out on that!
INFO: runs until 2 December, Global Village, www.globalvillage.ae.
10. See the Dubai Fountains Dance to the National Anthem
The world’s tallest performing fountain at the foot of the world’s tallest building which will be all a-glow in UAE colours will be dancing to the national anthem.
INFO: The Dubai Fountain, Downtown Dubai, 04 362 7500, www.thedubaimall.com.