UAE National Day History
The 2nd of December, or the UAE National Day, is a day infused with patriotic spirit, as it was when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was unified 52 years ago. Since then, it has been one of the UAE’s most significant national observances and, of course, the most looked-forward-to holidays by locals, expats, and visitors alike. With less than a month until the 2023 celebrations, read this comprehensive post to learn everything about this day, from the

UAE National Day history

to the exciting activities and attractions that await you on this day.

The UAE National Day: History and Background

UAE National Day History and Facts Image credit –

Formerly known as the Trucial States, the UAE was formed in 1971, following the departure of the British from the Persian Gulf in 1968. The actual plan was to create a united federation with nine kingdoms, but Bahrain and Qatar chose to become independent nations. The UAE was thus formed with six emirates (or sheikhdoms), such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, and Umm Al Quwain, on December 2, 1971. Two months after its formation, Ras Al Khaimah became a part of the federation on February 10, 1972.

Interesting UAE and National Day Facts

Interesting National Day Facts
  • The UAE came into existence in 1971 under the guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed, acknowledged as the country’s founding father.
  • The UAE’s total area is roughly 83,500 square kilometers and occupies the Arabian Peninsula’s southeastern corner in Southwest Asia, with Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the west.
  • The UAE has come a long way from its humble past. It is now acclaimed for its coalescence of record-breaking architecture, jaw-dropping engineering marvels, and timeless cultural landmarks. They range from the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), the Palm Jumeirah (a man-made island), and the Museum of the Future, and Yas Island to Al Bastakiya Quarter (Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood) and Al Seef.
  • The UAE has abundant oil reserves, making it one of the world’s largest.
  • The UAE is a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other prestigious organizations, such as the Arab League, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the United Nations (UN).
  • The 50th National Day fell in 2021, coinciding with the momentous, grandest-of-its-kind Dubai Expo 2020.
  • The Arabian oryx is the UAE’s national animal, and the falcon is the national bird.
  • The Emirati national anthem is Ishy Biladi, penned by Dr. Arif Al Sheikh (an Emirati poet and scholar) and composed by Saad Abdel Wahab (an Egyptian composer).
  • Discover all about the country’s enlightening past at the Etihad Museum, also the landmark venue of the Union House, where the treaty for the formation of the emirates was signed in 1971.
  • The UAE has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the 4000-year-old Al Ain Oasis, the Hili Archeological Park, the Jebel Hafeet Tombs, and Bidaa Bin Saud’s burial tombs tracing back over 5,000 years.

Know The Seven Emirates Of The UAE

Abu Dhabi Emirates UAE

Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in terms of its size, boasting an area of over 65,000 square kilometers. As the most affluent emirate ruled by the Al Nahyan Family, it serves as the country’s administrative, political, and cultural seat. Dubai is the second-largest and probably the most popular of all the emirates. Headed by the visionary Al Maktoum family, it is a marvelous trade port city along a natural creek. Its advanced infrastructure and soaring skyscrapers with intricate architectural styles have given the country an extraordinary facelift.

Sharjah may be third size-wise, but it is definitely one of the UAE’s most prominent emirates. Given its quaint charm and a string of museums and galleries, it’s justifiable to acknowledge Sharjah as the country’s cultural capital. A distinctive characteristic of Sharjah, governed by the Al Qasimi family, is it’s the UAE’s only emirate with coastlines on both the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf. It also shares borders with all six emirates. Ajman is the smallest of all emirates, bounded mainly by Sharjah.

Umm Al Quwain is the country’s second-smallest emirate. On the other hand, Fujairah is the UAE’s only emirate without a coastline. Al Sharqi is the ruling family. Ras Al Khaimah, placed on an inlet, is the UAE’s northernmost emirate. With runoff water from the beautiful Hajar Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah abounds in natural beauty.

Red, Green, White, and Black

UAE Flag color meanings

The country’s flag, created by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah in 1971, is one of the inevitable symbols of the UAE national day celebrations. The rectangular flag looks like the alphabet ‘E’ with four colors, where ‘red’ paints its vertical part, ‘green’ its upper horizontal, ‘white’ its mid part, and ‘black’ bottom horizontal section. Each color has its own importance, with red indicating unity and strength, green indicating prosperity and optimism, white indicating purity and peace, and black indicating solidarity. See the whole country awash with these colors even a week or two before the national day, with almost all government offices, malls, educational institutions, vehicles, etc., decorated in the UAE flag colors.

How is National Day Celebrated in the UAE?

UAE National Day Fireworks Celebrations

The National Day is one of the anticipated annual holidays of the year. The spirit of union in the UAE is celebrated with:

Fireworks: The UAE is legendary for its fantastical fireworks displays, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Make your way to Dubai’s icons, including Al Seef, Global Village, La Mer, and the Beach, to watch them live and up close.

Parades and Shows: Watching parades is one of the best things to do during UAE national day holidays. Yes, don’t miss the fabulous Dubai Police Parade at Rashid Boulevard and Al Seef.

National-Day-Exclusive Experiences: The country’s historical and cultural spots, like Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), and Jumeirah Mosque, organize various insightful programs on National Day.

Unbelievable Discounts: It is one of the best times for shopping in the UAE, as most of the brands, outlets, and malls across the country announce massive discounts on their merchandise. It allows you to take home your favorite apparel, gadgets, and souvenirs for up to 50% to 70% off.

Sports Events: With dedicated events, such as Sketchers Performers, you can get active as part of the national day festivities. It is held at Dubai’s Track Meydan Golf, where you can cover a distance of three to 16 kilometers, depending on your chosen distance.

Delicious Food: There is no better time to relish local delicacies than during national day holidays. Visit Global Village or other spots like Arabian Tea House, Logma, SMCCU, or Al Fanar Restaurant and Café to treat your senses to an authentic Arabic feast. You can also go on a traditional dhow cruise or a desert safari for unique dining and entertainment sessions in the UAE.


Visiting the UAE during National Day allows you to see the whole city encapsulated by an unmatched spirit and vigor. The pleasant weather, tons of shopping options, fantastic culinary delights, family- and kid-friendly activities, and various cultural and traditional experiences all add to its celebrations.

Rezmin is passionate about traveling and curating content about history, traditions and other intriguing aspects that make a place attractive. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fictional books sprinkled with inspiration, humor and enthusiasm.

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