Stay home celebrations: UAE residents vow to keep the National Day spirit alive

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on December 1, 2020 | Last updated on December 1, 2020 at 01.02 am

Many are committed to staying indoors and will instead celebrate the UAE spirit online, in virtual festivities.

Residents are preparing for a different National Day celebration this year, with parades and large social gatherings on pause.

Many are committed to staying indoors and will instead celebrate the UAE spirit online, in virtual festivities.

BK Sainani, a longtime UAE resident known for his bookstores in Dubai, has always associated National Day with lots of lights, concerts and shows showcasing Emirati heritage. This year, however, Sainani could feel how muted the upcoming celebration is going to be.

“Every year, without fail I gave discounts on the books in my store starting from National Day that went right up to the New Year. But this year, things are visibly different. I have put up a few flags in the bookshops but the decorations aren’t as vibrant as they used to be,” said Senani.

Around this time of the year, he and his wife would usually travel to Abu Dhabi to catch the grand parade and attend gatherings at famous clubs. Today, however, they are staying home.

“We will abide by the law and stay indoors,” he said. “I wish everyone stays safe and follows government guidelines.”

The scenario will be similar for Malaysian expat Adilatul, who loved watching the airshow at the Abu Dhabi Corniche.

“The aerobatics demonstration team of the UAE Air Force is usually spectacular, with thousands of people packing the seaside road. But we’ve decided not to go there this year because of Covid-19,” said Adilatul.

“We will watch it in the skies from our terrace instead. We also intend to have a picnic at some nice location in the emirate.”

This year, the UAE has every reason to celebrate because of how it handled the pandemic situation, the expat added. “Despite the challenges of this year, what is really commendable in this country is its resilience, how the country has managed to consolidate the economic and social stability of its citizens and residents.”

Heeding government advice

Indian expat Shreya Chakraborty, who usually has a long list of exciting things to do during these holidays, will have some low-key celebrations.

Shreya said: “We usually make staycation plans every year. Although the Covid-19 situation is well controlled in the UAE, we would still like to abide by government advice and celebrate it in a way that retains the spirit but doesn’t flout rules.

“It is also cute to see my four-year-old singing the UAE national anthem and saying Ya Baladi Baladi as he waves the flag proudly. He, too, understands the significance of the day now. We are indebted to the country for what it’s given us.”

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