Tuesday, 11 December 2012

National Day

Before we jetted off to Austria we had the pleasure of seeing Dubai come alive with the preparations for National Day. On December 2, 1971 the United Arab Emirates formed to become a country and this day is celebrated with gusto by the nationals and residents.

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. 


  1. Oh your girls are so gorgeous Corinne, they look so grown up too. It's always time to part in Dubai by the looks of it... and it seems they do it well too. So lovely the girls feel so at home and involved in the customs xoxo

  2. time to *party*... that should've been!

  3. Talk about being immersed in the culture! These are wonderful things the kids will hopefully always remember and share with their own some day. You're a lucky lady. :)



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