UAE National Day celebrations: All roads lead to Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 has announced an action-packed events calendar to mark the UAE Year of 50, complete with fireworks, special shows and parades



Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Wasl Dome. (Photo by Dany Eid)
Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Wasl Dome. (Photo by Dany Eid)
by

Anjana Sankar

Published: Thu 2 Dec 2021, 12:33 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Dec 2021, 2:24 PM

The translucent circles of the Al Wasl Dome glistened under the morning sun as patriotic spirit swelled the centre piece of Expo 2020. A sea of red, black, green and white filled the plaza as people packed in to share the joy and pride of a nation turning 50.

The UAE's 50th National Day celebrations officially kicked off at Expo 2020 on Thursday morning with the national flag hoisting and the singing of the national anthem. There was also a traditional Al Azi performance.

Expo 2020 Dubai
Expo 2020 Dubai

Minister's, dignitaries and hundreds of residents witnessed the colourful ceremony.

Addressing the gathering, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Expo Commissioner General addressed the crowd and wished everyone a happy National Day.

"I am thankful that you have joined us on this momentous journey and honoured to stand among this special moment and story of our nation… a story in which you have each played a significant part together," said Sheikh Nahyan.

Al Wasl Dome
Al Wasl Dome

He said 192 countries have joined not just to celebrate the UAE's Golden Jubilee but also all the values the country upholds. He said the UAE has neither wavered in the fulfilment of its promise nor in honouring the founding principles, like the values of tolerance and openness, the preservation of rights, and enshrining of human dignity for all.

He further said the country believes in the philosophy of good neighbourliness as the basis of genuine stability from which growth and development will necessarily flow.

As the country "launch towards another half-century of peaceful, reliable and valuable cooperation and collaboration," Sheikh Nahyan said everyone is a neighbour in the interconnected world.

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At the flag hoisting ceremony, Expo Director General and UAE's Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy, UAE minister of Youth and Culture Noura Al Kaabi were all present.

The Expo 2020 has announced an action-packed events calendar to mark the UAE Year of 50, complete with fireworks, special shows and parades.

Expo gates
Expo gates

The carbon fibre Expo gates - an engineering marvel that combines the mashrabiya design with the futuristic concept - threw open for the public in a grand ceremony marked with a traditional Emirati welcome and storytellers.

Special events will be held at the UAE pavilion throughout the day.

A special horse parade featuring Dubai Police and the UAE Ministry of Interior Marching Band in the "Colours of the World Parade" will be held between 12.45pm and 1.15pm.

Singer Fatima Zahrat Al Ain will be performing Music in the Garden at Al Wasl Plaza at 3.15.

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The highlight of the day's celebrations is an immersive show that will take place in Al Wasl Plaza, which will tell the story of the nation. The show will be held at 7.30pm and 10.15pm on December 2 to 4. Exposonix, a 16-piece National Day musical performance on the Jubilee Stage, is another big attraction for visitors on December 2.

Packed Grounds

Since morning, the world fair ground has been packed as crowds started flowing into Expo 2020 since 9am.

Taking advantage of the special free entry on the National Day, families and tourists are flocking to the Expo to make the most out of the day.

Humaid al Karbi and his sister have come from Al Ain to celebrate the National Day at Expo.

"We have not visited the Expo, so we decided to drive down to Dubai in the morning to avoid crowd," said Al Karbi, a university student.

Louie Ong, from the Philippines and her friend Mariel Gania -both working in a private hospital - said they are happy to get a free entry to Expo.

"We were not going to miss this. This is like a dream come true," said Ong.

Many Emirati and expat mothers dressed up their children in traditional garbs and posed for pictures for the public.

Hanan Abdallah with her son Mayed
Hanan Abdallah with her son Mayed

Hanan Abdallah, a UAE National from Abu Dhabi, is visiting the Expo with her four-year-old Mayed dressed in a Kandura.

"This is our National Day, and I want to see all the action happening at Expo, which we are all proud of. I want my son to see what our country does," said Abdalla.

Many families said they are at Expo to soak in the cultural extravaganza that Expo offers.

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Ovie Joshua and his wife Maajo, both from Nigeria
Ovie Joshua and his wife Maajo, both from Nigeria

Ovie Joshua and his wife Maajo, both from Nigeria, were at Expo since morning. "We wanted to experience this great flow of humanity and the cultural interactions happening at Expo. It is a very special time as it is the 50th year of UAE," said Joshua.

Liz Carames
Liz Carames

Liz Carames, a real estate broker from Brazil, who is visiting, said it is "a dream come true" to be at Expo on the National day.

"It is an amazing place. It is unbelievable. It feels like a place in the dreams."

"I will stay here the whole day. I visited several Pavilions. Seeing so many people gather here, I feel the whole world is here," said Carames.

Ziad Hissoiny and his wife Nahela al Kayed
Ziad Hissoiny and his wife Nahela al Kayed

Ziad Hissoiny and his wife Nahela al Kayed, long-time UAE residents, say they are at Expo on the National day to be part of the celebrations of a country they call home.

"This is unmissable. There is no better way to celebrate this special day than at Expo, which is magical," said Hissony. - civil engineer.


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