The UAE and its diverse mix of peoples joined with Emiratis yesterday to celebrate the country's 39th birthday with outpourings of emotion, plenty of national pride and dozens of fun events.
From traditional dancing, poetry readings and military parades to the more high-paced musical performances and fireworks displays, a feast of activities was laid on for residents of each emirate.
"December 2 is an important day in the calendar," said Ahmed al Kaabi, a university student in Ajman. "It is a day to remember the history of the country, celebrate its achievements and look forward to the opportunities and challenges of the future."
In the capital, families flocked to the Corniche and thousands were in the holiday spirit, dressed head-to-toe in the colours of the Emirates.
While they picnicked, cars drove by decorated with flags, national symbols and pictures of UAE leaders. Events on the Corniche and at Heritage Village included folk dancing, drumming and face painting before an evening of entertainment that featured a huge fireworks display and musical performances.
Events in Dubai carried an automotive theme as cars brightly decorated with flags and transfers cruised the roads, while more classic vehicles could be seen at the Emirates Classic Car Show.
Things took a cultured turn in Ajman with a poetry reading, art exhibitions and opera.
Elsewhere, events included the Sharjah Water Festival 2010 at the Al Majaz Waterfront and Khalid Lagoon.
A parade was followed by a spectacular array of water-themed displays and entertaining shows staged by international teams competing for best-of-show honours.
The Heritage Village and Green Mubazzarah Park and Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort were Al Ain's most popular spots, hosting events including a laser show and a performance by the Saudi Arabian singer Mohammed Abdo.
Across the Emirates, as people celebrated, the lucky parents of National Day newborns said the arrival of their babies on such a special day was a true blessing.
However, celebrations in Ras al Khaimah were more subdued amid the mourning period declared after the passing of Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed, the long-time Ruler of the emirate, last month.
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