The whole city became awash in red, black, white and green. Every building had flags, cars were decorated and there was a buzz in the air. It was really lovely and the excitement was contagious. People here are really proud of their country but not in an extreme jingoistic way. Everyone is encouraged to celebrate being a part of this country and there was an inclusive feeling of coming together. In other countries I've been to national celebrations can have an uneasy, almost aggressive patriotism about them, but it wasn't like that in Dubai. Whether you're here for a short-time or a lifetime you're encouraged to feel part of the UAE.
The girls were so excited about National Day, their school began putting up decorations weeks in advance and they learnt about the Emirates, the sheiks and their city. They were encouraged to come to school in national dress or in red, black, green and white. The girls woke early excited to get dressed up and get to school for the performances and activities.
After a school assembly they kids shared a picnic of traditional foods and then they were free to explore the school where there were camel rides, a henna artist painting hands, a falcon trainer and women doing traditional cooking displays. There were Arabic board games and story telling in the library. There were even jumping castles and a fun fair.
I had to scoot the girls off early so we could take our flight to Vienna, but they kept the excitement up at the airport displaying their flags and badges and singing songs.
I can't wait to actually be in Dubai next year to see the full celebrations first hand.
|The lights in our complex.|
|Cooking displays at school|
|Everyone loves Sheikh Mohammad.|
|The girls dressed and ready for National Day celebrations.|
|The school decorations|
|Every building had a flag...|
|Or lots of flags.|
|It's not every day they have a camel at school.|