UAE unites in pride for 51st National Day celebrations

A nation was united once more on Friday as the UAE’s 51st National Day was marked with joyous celebrations.

Emiratis and residents alike turned out in force at events all over the country to fly the flag of the UAE with pride and reflect on its remarkable rise.

The headlining act on the memorable occasion was the stunning National Day show held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The rulers of all seven emirates — led by President Sheikh Mohamed — watched as the past, present and future of the UAE took centre stage.

The lavish production highlighted the UAE’s rich biodiversity and its long maritime history, put its thriving space sector in the spotlight and stressed the need to forge a greener future, as the country prepares to host the Cop28 climate summit in 2023.

It was fitting that Etihad Rail took centre stage, with a train carrying waving passengers rolling into view.

Much like the foundation of the union in 1971, the national rail project will again help connect the emirates.

Flag-waving children then joined the celebration, with hundreds making a procession through the time tunnel as their written hopes and dreams for the future were beamed on to the stage.

The performance concluded with a vivid display of Al Ayyala dancing from a 200-strong troupe of Emirati performers in another nod to the nation’s cultural heritage.

As the sun set on the 51st National Day, crowds poured into Expo City Dubai to soak up an evening of live entertainment and cultural performances.

The Surreal water feature, a major hit during Expo 2020, became the backdrop for a celebration of Arabic culture led by Emirati poet AlWasmy.

Across Expo City, cultural performances took place through late afternoon and, as night fell, huge projections appeared on the walls of Al Wasl Plaza to celebrate the UAE.

Visitors to Expo City enjoyed a taste of Emirati hospitality and traditions, with a cultural market and roving bands who would break into traditional song and dance as they meandered through the site.