2 December is a key date in the UAE’s history. Way back in 1971, a treaty signed with Britain ended on this day, followed by the formation of a union by the six Trucial Sheikhdoms. Those cities were Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain; Ras Al Khaimah joined the union in early 1972.
Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and later His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE quickly became recognised internationally. In the 40 years that have followed, the country has set benchmarks in just about every field, and is packed with testaments to this spirit of excellence. From the towering Burj Khalifa in Dubai to the Formula One track in Abu Dhabi, there’s so much here that makes it utterly unique.
So, 2 December is certainly a day to celebrate, and there’s definitely a lot to choose from when it comes to spending it in a special way. Ahlan Live! has lined up 40 things that you can do to make your personal National Day party a hit. Read on and enjoy!
1. Make a Musical Splash
Where: The Dubai Fountain
What to expect: The world’s tallest performing fountain lining is all set to move to the tunes of UAE’s national anthem at 1pm, 7pm, 9pm and 11pm everyday from 1 to 3 December. Join in the tune salute!
INFO: The Dubai Fountain, Downtown Dubai/The Dubai Mall, 04 362 7500, www.thedubaimall.com
2. Get Up In The Air
Where: UAE Balloon Championship, Meydan
What to expect: The National Day celebrations at Meydan are part of the three-day UAE Balloon Championship, and the entertainment promises to be sky-high! Inflated hot air balloons with Night Glow will be attached to the ground so that people can get up close with the flying machines. There is also going to be a huge hot air balloon-shaped cake and, wait for it, Dubai’s first-ever mass release of sky lanterns!
INFO: National Day celebrations will be held at Meydan from 5pm to 9pm on 2 December, entry is free, 04 327 0000, www.meydan.ae.
3. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane
Where: Deira City Centre
What to expect: Get in touch with the UAE’s past at Deira’s famous mall, which is celebrating National Day with an exhibition of the country’s most memorable news stories from the past 40 years. The newspaper display will be held at the mall’s Central Stage (opposite Paris Gallery) and promises to be a history lesson!
INFO: Deira City Centre, 04 295 4486, www.deiracitycentre.com.
4. Eat Cake
Where: Hey Sugar!
What to expect: A party is never complete without cake and the folks at Hey Sugar! certainly know that. To sweeten up the UAE’s 40th anniversary, the bakery has National Day cake pops and National Day cupcakes in regular/mini sizes as well as tasty cookies.
INFO: The special National Day collection is available in all Hey Sugar outlets across the UAE, 04 344 8204 for Dubai and 050 182 9075 for Abu Dhabi
5. Say It With Chocolates
What to expect: Can’t get enough of sweet celebrations? You’ll approve of ChoCo’a’s limited edition collection of high-end chocolate boxes replicating the UAE’s national flag. The chocolate boutique also has a selection of cookies, cakes and cupcakes branded with the UAE’s logo and flag.
INFO: ChoCo’a outlets, 04 340 9014, www.chocoa.ae
6. Wear It With Pride
What to expect: The brand has launched a new collection of its legendary Lion Polo - the special edition Flag Polo - to celebrate the UAE’s 40th anniversary. A UAE national flag now appears on the T-shirt! Choose from classic white and black, trendy fuchsia and light yellow; they’re just Dhs125 each!
INFO: The Flag Polo edition is available in all Giordano stores and outlets across the UAE, 04 339 9864, www.thedubaimall.com
7. Colour Us Patriotic
Where: Mall of the Emirates
What to expect: MoE will be adorned in the colours of the UAE and the mall’s Central Galleria will also feature a larger-than-life flag, complementing the centrepiece attraction – a giant electronic message board featuring ever-changing inspirational and congratulatory National Day greetings!
INFO: Mall of the Emirates, 04 377 2000, www.malloftheemirates.com
8. UAE Appreciation Time, Eco-Friendly Style
Where: Mirdif City Centre
What to expect: Check out UAE-inspired works of art by students from the local community as part of the mall’s My UAE National Awards Day community initiative. A traditional wind tower, a dhow boat, a camel, and Emirates Towers are just some of the UAE’s most cherished landmarks, symbols and animals that the kids have re-created using recycled materials.
INFO: Mirdif City Centre, 04 800 6422, www.mirdifcitycentre.com
9. Flag Fancy
Where: Burj Al Arab
What to expect: The longest and biggest UAE flag will be on display in the lobby of the Burj Al Arab, and projected onto the hotel’s exterior – making for a perfect photo opportunity! There’ll also be a National Day-themed cake on display within the Sahn Eddar lobby, and each visitor will be provided with a National Day book showcasing the growth of the nation.
INFO: Burj Al Arab, 04 301 7777, www.jumeirah.com/hotels-and-resorts/destinations/dubai/burj-al-arab/
10. Patriotism On Your Sleeve
Where: Effa Boutique
What to expect: The Effa Boutique has introduced exclusive pieces inspired by the national flag. Think fine chic abayas with bright red and emerald green satin trims and gowns in which green and red satin has been used for a funky yet subtly elegant take on the traditional Emirati embroidered dress makhawar.
INFO: The Effa Boutique is located at the Palm Strip Mall, Jumeirah, Dubai, 04 346 1462.
11. Freej Fun and More!
Where: Bloomingdale’s, The Dubai Mall
What to expect: Bloomies is celebrating with the famous women from the hit animated series Freej (Neighbourhood)! On 1 December, you can meet your favourite characters and get a snapshot with them. They’ve also got Dubai Tote Bags – inspired by the UAE's national flag!
INFO: You can meet the Freej characters from 5pm to 9pm, 1 December. Kidswear department, second floor, Bloomingdale’s, The Dubai Mall, 04 350 5333, www.thedubaimall.com
12. Top Run
Where: At the Top, Burj Khalifa
What to expect: While you’re At the Top, get your hands adorned with henna designs or get snapped standing alongside a traditional falconer. They’ve also got Al Ayala, the folklore dancers, to entertain you with performances every 45 minutes (2 and 3 December only).
INFO: Tickets Dhs100 for adults, Dhs75 for children up to 12, free entry for kids under three. At the Top, lower ground level of The Dubai Mall, 04 888 8124, www.burjkhalifa.ae
13. Sing along with Atif Aslam and Euphoria
Where: Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: Pakistan’s hottest singer Atif Aslam and one of India’s top bands Euphoria will be performing for a special National Day concert. It’s going to be a musical bonanza!
INFO: Tickets Dhs250, Dhs100, Dhs25, Dhs10, Dhs5, 2 December, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 050 225 3021, www.adcricketclub.ae, www.timeouttickets.com
14. Explore Emirati Expressionism
Where: Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: Emirati Expressions, an exhibition of photographs by Emirati artists, will provide a fascinating glimpse into the national identity. Be there!
INFO: Free entry. 10am to 8pm, until 28 January 2012, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, 800 1971, www.uaenationalday.ae
15. Higher Learning
Where: Eton Institute
What to expect: Attend Eton Institute’s free cultural workshop for the public called Spirit of UAE to mark the 40th National Day. It will provide an overview of the history, culture and language of the country, and you will also hear lots of interesting facts about the seven emirates.
INFO: Eton Institute is located in Block 3, Knowledge Village, Dubai. 7pm to 9pm, 1 December, 04 360 2955
16. Get a Beauty Boost
Where: Merle Norman
What to expect: As the UAE turns 40, Merle Norman Cosmetics is offering a special bouquet of products that are ideal for women in their 40s. From moisturisers and serums to products for eye and lip care – they’ve got it all.
INFO: Merle Norman Cosmetics, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, 04 342 7232, www.merlenormanuae.com
17. One for the Stylistas
Where: Juicy Couture, Mexx and Jane Norman stores across the UAE
What to expect: Majid Al Futtaim Fashion’s BIG 40 campaign with retail partners - Juicy Couture, Mexx and Jane Norman – will have every 40th customer receive a Dhs40 gift voucher and shoppers also have a chance to win Dhs4,000 weekly shopping sprees. Juicy Couture fans are also in for a treat as a limited edition UAE-branded tracksuit and t-shirt in red, green and black and emblazoned with Juicy Loves UAE in glittering rhinestones is available!
INFO: Juicy Couture, Mexx and Jane Norman stores across the UAE, 04 294 9999, www.majidalfuttaimventures.com
18. Culture Cool
Where: Jumeirah Emirates Towers
What to expect: Emirates Towers are setting up an Arabic tent in their lobby with Majlis seating and there’s also a henna lady offering her services from 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 7pm. Watch out for the Ayala dance performance in the Boulevard from 6pm to 9pm.
INFO: Jumeirah Emirates Towers, 2 December, 04 330 0000, www.jumeirah.com/hotels-and-resorts/destinations/dubai/jumeirah-emirates-towers/
19. Camel Rides on the Ready
Where: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
What to expect: From camel rides on the beach (Kim K style) to complimentary henna in the lobby (for house guests) and UAE national chef, Chef Musabbeh, whipping up yummy local dishes at Imperium restaurant – there’s a cool line-up here!
INFO: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, 04 453 0000, www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-and-resorts/destinations/dubai/Jumeirah-Zabeel-Saray/
20. Get the Drums Rolling
Where: Dubai Marina Mall
What to expect: Alliance Francaise is celebrating the UAE’s 40th anniversary with a music festival called 40 Drumbeats for the UAE. The event will kick off with the Gypsy Swing Trio Project, followed by the Dubai Drums. Look out for the French artists’ group, Transe Express at the event.
INFO: Dubai Marina Mall, 5pm to 8pm, 04 335 8712, www.afdubai.com
21. Dazzle Some More
What to expect: Damas Jewellery’s gift division Contours has unveiled a line of limited edition commemorative creations for National Day including a UAE flag-inspired timepiece with matching pendant and customised gold plated iPad 2s, iPhone 4s and Blackberry Bold 9780s. Shine on!
INFO: Damas stores, 04 4270554, www.damasjewellery.com
22. Get a Whiff of the Past
Where: Jumeirah Beach Hotel
What to expect: The hotel will have a souk in the lobby from 9am to 6pm on 2 December where you can take in demonstrations of sewing and weaving of local outfits, henna, perfumes, sweets and gifts for guests as well as traditional coffee service with dates.
INFO: Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, 04 348 0000, www.jumeirah.com/hotels-and-resorts/destinations/dubai/jumeirah-beach-hotel/
23. Balloons and More
Where: Arabian Center
What to expect: This one’s for kids and the young at heart - the mall is giving away balloons and flags throughout the National Day Weekend (1 to 3 December). Also part of the entertainment are arts and crafts displays, stilt walkers, and traditional dance performances.
INFO: Arabian Center, 04 284 5555, www.arabiancenter.ae
24. Join the March of Loyalty
Where: Jumeirah Road, Dubai
What to expect: A March of Loyalty for His Highness Sheikh Zayed will take place on 2 December from 4pm to 5pm. We plan to head to Jumeirah Road to show our support, see you there!
INFO: Jumeirah Road, Dubai, 800 1971, www.uaenationalday.ae
25. Go Date Crazy
Where: Emirates Palace Hotel
What to expect: Emirates Palace will be celebrating the 40th National Day with traditional Bedouin tents and displaying 40 different types of prime local dates. Another must-visit is the photography exhibition dedicated to the Father of UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyan.
INFO: 7pm to 9pm, 28 November to 5 December, Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, 02 690 9000, www.emiratespalace.com/en/home/index.htm
26. Experience Turtle Power
Where: Madinat Jumeirah
What to expect: A 40kg turtle will get its freedom on 2 December as part of the Madinat Jumeirah’s Turtle Rehabilitation Programme. There are also camel rides on the beach, henna painting in the special beach majlis (10am to 4pm) and a cake cutting ceremony (5pm) in the lobby
INFO: Madinat Jumeirah, 04 366 8888, www.jumeirah.com/hotels-and-resorts/destinations/dubai/madinat-jumeirah/
27. Bling On!
Where: Pure Gold Jewellers
What to expect: Go bling bling with Pure Gold’s special pendant and brooch in the shape of the UAE’s national flag. It has 40 engraved in diamond on it!
INFO: The National Day pendant/brooch is priced at Dhs1440, available at Pure Gold outlets across the UAE, 04 397 9400, www.pugold.com
28. Pamper Yourself
What to expect: Silkor Medical Centre has launched a brand-new facial for women who are turning 40 to mark the 40th UAE National Day. Get your fix of the Ruby Secret Anti-Ageing Facial, and check out the special introductory offer.
INFO: Silkor branches, 9am to 9pm, 02 681 6070, www.silkor.com
29. Taste the Celebrations
Where: Kitsch Cupcakes
What to expect: Kitsch has introduced limited edition UAE National Day cupcakes which can be customised to your tastes. Select anyone of Kitsch’s 25 drool-worthy flavours of cupcakes including its bestseller, the mouth-watering Red Velvet.
INFO: The special range of UAE National day cupcakes cost Dhs14 per piece and are available at all Kitsch outlets, 04 395 6963, www.kitschconcept.com
30. Stand Out in the Crowd With Minx Nails
Where: Pastels Salon
What to expect: Get your nails covered with little UAE flag designs – that’s what Minx Nails is offering! Minx’s stylish nail enhancements have been sported by celebs from Katy Perry to Rihanna, so we’re not going to be left behind.
INFO: Pastels Salon, Jumeirah, Dubai, Minx Nails for hands cost Dhs200 including mini manicure and for feet Dhs175 including mini pedicure, 04 394 7393, www.pastels-salon.com
31. Enjoy a Veggie Fest
Where: Aryaas Restaurant
What to expect: Aryaas, the veggie gourmet restaurant, is offering a mouth-watering National Day meal for only Dhs25! The meal is made up of four coloured dosas (crepes made of rice) inspired by the UAE national flag served with coloured chutneys and other fun delicacies.
INFO: The National Day Meal which will be served at Aryyas on 2 December only, 04 357 7800, www.aryaasveg.com
32. Take a Coffee Break
Where: Costa Coffee
What to expect: Costa Coffee is turning 40 this year, along with the UAE! To celebrate both occasions - Costa is giving its customers a 40 per cent discount on a medio coffee and muffins on 2 December.
INFO: Costa Coffee outlets across the UAE, www.costacoffee.com
33. Give Your Style a Twist
Where: Grafika Boutique
What to expect: The boutique has unveiled its brand-new collection which includes UAE flag inspired abayas (by Amal Murad), bags (by Ragmataaz) and t-shirts (by Lucky Nooni). Plus, there are massive discounts!
INFO: Grafika Boutique, Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi, 02 443 7111, www.grafikauae.com
34. Win Big!
Where: Lamcy Plaza
What to expect: Lamcy Plaza is set to welcome National Day with falcon displays, arts and crafts as well as dance performances. Shoppers who spend Dhs200 also enter a draw for a chance to win up to Dhs1.6 million in cash and vouchers!
INFO: Lamcy Plaza, Karama, Dubai, 04 335 9999, www.lamcyplaza.com
35. Calling All Car Lovers
Where: Mamzar Park
What to expect: A march of 40 FJ cars reflecting the National Day celebrations will take place in the cool outdoors. Cool stuff!
INFO: Mamzar Park, Dubai, 3pm to 5pm, 2 December, 056 755 5644, www.uaenationalday.ae
36. Head to the Fun Fair
Where: Ajman City Centre
What to expect: The mall has performances by the Armed Forces HQ and the National Operetta as well as a children’s carnival on the cards. There’s also mini-walkathon for children and yummy traditional food, generously provided by the Ajman Chamber of Commerce.
INFO: Ajman City Centre, 06 743 2888, www.ajmancitycentre.com
37. Family Time
Where: Sharjah City Centre
What to expect: From 1 to 3 December, the mall will host cultural shows featuring the traditional Ayala and Yola dances. Plus, throughout the celebrations, children will be treated to vibrant entertainment, making it the perfect outing for the whole family.
INFO: Sharjah City Centre, 06 532 7700, www.sharjahcitycentre.com
38. Enjoy Emirati Hospitality
Where: Moevenpick Hotel
What to expect: Moevenpick Hotel will have special activities highlighting Arabic hospitality – so look out for souvenirs, dates and coffee table books about the UAE’s people and culture. Works by international artists complimenting the Modern Arabesque theme of the hotel will also be on display.
INFO: Moevenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai, Dubai, 04 310 4202, www.moevenpick-burdubai.com
39. Get Nail Art
Where: Sisters Beauty Lounge
What to expect: To celebrate with the UAE, Sisters have created a limited edition of custom-made UAE flag Nail Rock nail wraps which are easy to apply at home or one of their nail technicians can do it for you while you relax.
INFO: UAE Flag Nail Rock nail wrap pack is priced at Dhs60 and Dhs35 extra if you’re getting it done at Sisters Beauty Lounge. The Village Mall, Jumeirah, Dubai. 04 342 0787, www.sistersbeautylounge.com
40. Local Panorama
What to expect: Jafza has a special photo exhibition and competition with the theme ‘Al Etihad Panorama’, featuring 40 photographs that capture the passion and the energy of the UAE. They’ve also set up a special Heritage Village which will have kiosks selling items made by Emirati families as well as traditional arts and crafts demonstrations.
INFO: Display in the lobby of Jafza, www.jafza.ae