Skies above the UAE lit up last night to mark the 38th anniversary of the founding of the nation, with massive fireworks displays in each of the emirates capping a day of celebration. Crowds gathered on corniches, grandstands and fields in every town and city, with parades, concerts, dancing and an explosion of red, white, black and green.
The national colours were everywhere: on flags, on costumes, on cars and on faces. Cars decked out with flags and images of the nation's leaders jammed the Corniche in Abu Dhabi and elsewhere as nationals and expatriates alike joined the party. Celebrations in the capital began around 4.30pm with an opening ceremony on a temporary stage on the Corniche. Groups of tribal dancers from five of the seven emirates gathered for traditional drumming and chanting.
At Dubai Creek, crowds gathered for a marine carnival, which recreated the historic "Al Gafal" the name given to the return leg of the voyages once embarked on by pearling ships. The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence was packed with people enjoying a three-day event showcasing the UAE's heritage and culture. Wafi Binfadil, from Umm al Qaiwain, and his friends were among the hundreds who flocked to JBR.
"This is the day the country united, so we gather and celebrate," Mr Binfadil said, as cars adorned with flags rolled by. "It is all one country; there is no difference between UAQ and Abu Dhabi or anywhere." firstname.lastname@example.org