UAE Day: Celebrating the Spirit of the Union


The 52nd UAE National Day was celebrated on December 2, 2023. It marks the anniversary of the formation of the federation in 1971. The UAE National Day, is a time to reflect on the country’s achievements, heritage, and future aspirations. On this day, the people of the UAE express their patriotism and gratitude for the vision and leadership of the founding fathers.

History of UAE

The UAE was not always a unified country. Before 1971, it was a collection of rival tribal groups, occupying different areas of the Arabian Peninsula. In 1820, Britain offered protection to the tribes in exchange for some control over the land. This arrangement lasted until 1968, when Britain decided to withdraw from the region.

Initially, the proposed union included nine emirates, but Bahrain and Qatar opted for independence in 1971. On December 2, 1971, six emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah – signed the agreement to form the UAE at the Union House in Dubai. The seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation on February 10, 1972. The merger was achieved peacefully without any violence or bloodshed. 

On December 2, 1971, the UAE flag was raised for the first time at the Union House in Dubai, where the declaration of the federation was signed. The flag has four colours: red, green, white, and black. Each colour has a symbolic meaning. Red represents hardiness, bravery, and strength. Green represents hope, joy, and optimism. White represents peace, honesty, and purity. Black represents dignity, power, and sovereignty.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

The UAE’s first president and founding father was Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi. He was widely revered for his vision, leadership, and generosity. He was succeeded by his son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in 2004. The current vice president and prime minister of the UAE is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The Celebration of the UAE


The UAE National Day is celebrated with various events and activities across the country. Some of the common ways of celebrating are: fireworks, dance shows, car rallies, air shows, military parades, cultural festivals and concerts. The buildings and streets are decorated with the UAE flag and national symbols. The people also wear traditional clothes and accessories, and display their national pride and spirit. The UAE National Day is also an opportunity to honour the country’s heroes and martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation.

One of the main highlights of the celebration is the official ceremony that is held in the capital, Abu Dhabi and attended by the rulers and leaders of the emirates, as well as dignitaries and guests from around the world. The ceremony features patriotic speeches, musical performances and cultural shows that reflect the UAE’s identity and values.

52 UAE National Day Celebration


Some of the special events and activities that took place during this year’s UAE National Day were:

  • The official show at Expo City Dubai, which highlighted the UAE’s sustainability journey. From its union in 1971 to the present day, with spectacular projections and cultural performances.
  • Fireworks displays at various locations across the seven emirates, such as Yas Bay Waterfront, Sharjah National Park, and Al Mudam region.
  • An airshow by the UAE air force at Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, featuring fighter planes like Mirage 2000 and F-16 jets.
  • A tribute to the UAE’s unity and growth at Dubai’s official calendar of events. It included special retail promotions and activations all over the city.

The theme for the 52nd National Day was “The Spirit of the Union”. It emphasized the unity and cooperation that have led to the UAE’s remarkable achievements over the past five decades. The celebrations reflected this theme, with a focus on showcasing the diversity and cultural richness of the nation while highlighting its shared history and aspirations for the future.

Numerous other events and activities took place throughout the UAE, making the 52nd National Day a truly unforgettable celebration. It was a time for Emiratis and residents alike to come together, express their pride in their nation and look forward to a brighter future for the United Arab Emirates.

The Future of the UAE

The UAE National Day is not only a celebration of the past, but also a vision of the future. The UAE is a young and dynamic country that has achieved remarkable progress and development in a short span of time. It is also a country that embraces diversity and tolerance as it hosts more than 200 nationalities and different religions and cultures. 

The UAE’s vision for the future is guided by the principles and values of its founding father, Sheikh Zayed, who once said: “ Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power that we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to building the individual, and to using the wealth which God has provided us in the service of the nation.” 

The UAE National Day is a reminder of the country’s remarkable journey, as well as its aspirations and challenges. It is a day to celebrate the spirit of the union, the pride of the nation, and the hope of the future.