Fireworks, cultural activities and more: 17 ways to celebrate National Day in UAE

Plan your holidays around these spectacular options from around the country



Published: Tue 29 Nov 2022, 5:02 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Nov 2022, 4:06 PM

Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi

Al Maryah Island will celebrate the 51st UAE National Day with an awe-inspiring firework display. Viewers can expect to be dazzled by the spectacular event which will take place at The Promenade on the evenings of December 2 and 3 and feature a blend of green, black, white and red fireworks paint the sky. The Promenade is home to beautiful views of Abu Dhabi along its 5.4km waterfront, in addition to luxurious cafes, bistros and restaurants.

Bawabat Al Sharq Mall, Abu Dhabi

Celebrate the Spirit of the Union in a festive ambiance, and spend memorable moments with your friends and family, from 2pm-10pm till December 4. There’s a dedicated kids’ area, a balloon twister stand, and a face painting corner. Adults can enjoy local carnival games (suitable for kids as well), a henna stand, and a local arts and crafts workshop. National Day will feature lively folkloric performances by renowned Emirati band, Al Mazyoud Al Harbiya, who will spread the joyous vibes across the mall on December 2, leading up to the highly anticipated National Day fireworks show. A true feast for the eye, this spectacular event will light up the sky of Abu Dhabi at 9pm.

Sheikh Zayed Festival, Abu Dhabi

A special program of cultural and entertainment events will take place at the festival, from 2pm till 1am, from December 1- 3. Drone shows will light up the Al Wathba skies; expect an amazing fireworks display, as Emirates Fountain and laser shows which showcase spectacular water and light formations featuring colours of the UAE flag, as traditional Emirati songs play in the background. The Festival's pavilions will feature many folkloric, cultural, and military shows and events, in addition to the Global Civilization Parade, a roaming show that comprises of performers from all over the world. Make sure to visit the Emirates Civilization Pavilion, which features rich Emirati culture, customs and authentic traditions, taking visitors on a journey through time to learn about the most important Emirati crafts and arts. The Heritage Village looks back on the UAE's journey over the past 51 years, and its incredible terrains, from land, mountain, marine and agricultural landscapes. It also introduces visitors to the role of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Global Village

Guests will be able to enjoy a special orchestra made up of 33 talented musicians who will be performing a selection of traditional songs on the main stage, including the UAE national anthem. A violinist and harpist will also be performing a selection of popular Emirati songs. The main stage will also host a range of cultural shows from the 27 pavilions represented at Global Village. Celebrating National Day under the theme “Brighter Together”, Global Village will be adorned in the colours of the UAE flag, Celebration Walk’s arches will be decorated with the verses of the national anthem and the main entrance gates and the Carnaval lit up with a special National Day light display. Each evening at 9pm a spectacular fireworks display will also light up the Dubai skies with the colours of the UAE flag. From December 1-4.

Dubai Parks and Resorts

LEGOLAND Dubai is inviting guests to build the world’s largest UAE LEGO Minifigure Flag to mark the 51st UAE National Day in MINILAND. Kids can also participate in the ‘Parkwide Scavenger Hunt’, and learn some interesting UAE facts. Daily Characters’ Parades will take place at Factory Street, led by favourite characters dressed in their special outfits in UAE colours. Guests should not miss collecting their special limited-edition LEGO collector brick, commemorating the 51st spirit of the union. Till December 4. At Riverland Dubai, between December 1-3, 4pm and 10pm, enjoy pop-up tents offering Henna, delicious Luqaimat live cooking sessions, kids’ face painting and also interact with the UAE’s magnificent national bird and symbol of the nation's heritage, the falcon. For those who want to sit back and enjoy a traditional show, Ayyalah dancers will be lining the streets alongside a performance of a traditional kids dance for Hag al Laila, one of the most popular celebrations in the UAE that honours the spirit of the community. At MOTIONGATE, you can look forward to live shows entertainment, cuisine from around the world, and exhilarating rides. From December 1-4, 4pm-10pm. Also, there will be family-friendly fireworks on December 2 at 7pm and 9pm, across the venues.

Infinity des Lumiѐres

The digital museum is marking National Day with an incredible offer - from November 30 till December 4, adults can avail entrance tickets for Dh99, whilst the little ones (up to age 13) can enter for Dh49. The current exhibition, ‘Raise Vibration’, brings together the timeless works of Gaudi, Kandinsky, and Klee. Infinity des Lumières at Dubai Mall is open from Monday to Thursday, between 10am – 10pm, and from Friday to Sunday between 10am – 11pm. Tickets can be purchased online or from the ticket office onsite.

Festival Plaza, Jebel Ali

A host of activities at the mall will showcase Emirati culture and traditions. Children can take part in the kids’ workshops which include arts and crafts and DIY projects while the whole family can enjoy complimentary light bites and henna painting in the Emirati style Majlis. In the evenings, look out for the roaming parade celebrating UAE National Day in the nation’s colours. Khaleeji dancers and Ayyalah performers with percussion bands, as well as jugglers, stilt walkers and more take the floor at various times throughout the evenings.

Emaar Malls

At Dubai Mall, a rotating schedule of four shows can be enjoyed, including a spectacular flag show to kick off the celebrations. Experience captivating vocals from an authentic Arabic choir, listen to the mesmerizing tunes as an Oud player roams the expansive mall, or catch the Ayyalah performers in action as they put up a riveting show of the traditional Emirati dance. Shoppers at Dubai Hills Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, and The Springs Souk can watch the Flag Dance and Ayyalah performances while also enjoying additional family-friendly acts, including an appearance of friendly mascots. All three malls will also feature Burqa-making workshops and live calligraphy. Unique to The Springs Souk is an opportunity to explore freshly made traditional coffee with a side of dates.

Waterfront Market

Indulge in a range of fun-filled activities with your family and friends at Waterfront Market. In the main atrium guests can experience live entertainment including the Ayyalah traditional dancing and a roaming parade on the weekends, as well as a special area offering a full range of kids’ activities from VR games to arts and crafts. There’s also a traditional Emirati heritage village on the promenade alongside the gleaming Deira Corniche waterway consisting of different traditional areesh tents which will each offer activities that celebrate local culture, from fishnet weaving and henna art to pottery making. A traditional majlis will offer the perfect ambiance for photo opportunities. Executive Resident Chef Christos Lymperis will also run live cooking demonstration sessions of popular traditional Emirati dishes, including Emirati Chicken Machboos. Till December 4.

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Enjoy a series of live events every day from December 1-3, including an Ayyalah performance across all Yas Island destinations including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi as well as CLYMB Abu Dhabi. In addition, visitors can look forward to spectacular fireworks displays on December 2 at 9pm. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will feature a large UAE Flag for visitors to use as a background for photo opportunities, while Yas Waterworld is inviting guests to enjoy an interactive journey to learn more about Emirati culture with a number of activities and live entertainment, including falcon handlers, oud players and rabab performers, as well as henna & face painting.

Fireworks at Al Seef, The Pointe, The Beach and Bluewaters

On December 2, there are several options to view some stunning fireworks displays. Head over to Al Seef to see the sky glistening in the UAE colours and sample some of the traditional offerings from the many market stalls and eateries. The Pointe will host a fireworks and fountain show at 9pm, with a whole host of activities taking place in the event plaza that are perfect for entertaining children. Catch illuminating firework displays by The Beach, opposite JBR, and Bluewaters at 8pm. Don’t miss out on the delicious food and beverages available across these destinations, and take advantage of the special offers running from December 2-4.

Jumeirah Golf Estates

Celebrate the UAE’s 51st National Day on the Earth Terraces at Jumeirah Golf Estates with a range of exciting activities for the whole family. Get in the spirit of the nation with traditional Emirati craft and live cooking stations, a spectacular Yowlah dance performance, camel rides and much more. The festivities will take place from 11.30am on December 2 at the Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Terrace. Entry is free for all.

Deerfields Mall, Abu Dhabi

There will be an array of traditional activities and mouth-watering Emirati cuisine for residents and visitors to enjoy from December 2-4 between 4pm and 9pm. An old-fashioned Majlis will be set up with Arabic cooking stations serving Luqaimat, Emirati dates, and Arabian coffee. Mall-goers will also be treated to a live falcon display and photo opportunity, Ayyalah dancing, henna painting, and a cupcake workshop.

Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi

Enjoy thrilling activities, cultural stations, live performances and patriotic decorations across the mall. A “Building The Legacy" workshop will invite the youth of tomorrow to create vision boards for the upcoming years. Take a trip down memory lane with traditional art stations, including a Henna station, to celebrate the Middle East’s authentic heritage. Kids will be kept entertained with fun-filled activities such as an interactive digital motion game where they can celebrate the country’s breakthrough technological advancements. Live entertainment includes Ayyalah dance performances on December 2 and 3 at Town Square.

Fireworks in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain

On December 2, a series of spectacular 10-minute fireworks shows will take place at 9pm on the Corniche, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain and Madinat Zayed in the Al Dhafra region.

National Day market at Mall of the Emirates

Enjoy a new indoor market at Zeman Awwal, the mall’s Emirati cultural hub. Featuring designs from homegrown businesses, visitors can look forward to exploring various artisanal products reflecting the UAE’s heritage.

Heritage at Souq Al Mina

Located in the heart of Mina Zayed, Souq Al Mina is amongst the capital’s most iconic sites, representing Abu Dhabi’s heritage and reflecting on historic times. A specially designed ‘Nostalgic Walkway’ will celebrate historic art and culture. Throughout the National Day weekend, guests can enjoy Ayyalah dancing, Emirati artists singing traditional tunes, and a special performance by Arqam trio Emirati band. The Souq has a petting zoo as well as other creative activities for kids. Experience historic games at the Maritime zone. Other traditional activities showcased will include basket and fishnet weaving, pearl opening, talli making, and much more. From 4-11pm.

Burj Al Arab tour

Taking place daily till December 4, guests can experience countless ‘wow’ moments in a tour of this iconic hotel, followed by a family-style buffet lunch or dinner at Al Iwan. Visitors can also capture exclusive photographs in front of the hotel, as well as enjoy a selection of mixology at dedicated al fresco venue, UMA. Bespoke National Day packages are available at Dh699 per person (standard admission Dh249) and include access to the hotel tour plus a spectacular Emirati feast and access to UMA. Book online at insideburjalarab.com or directly from the Ticketing Office and Welcome Lounge located at Jumeirah Beach Hotel.


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