Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Saudi National Day 2019: How people are celebrating across the kingdom and beyond

Saudi's 89th National Day is upon us, and the country's residents are marking it in interesting ways

A Saudi dance troupe in traditional dress perform during a concert titled "mettle to the top" concert for the Saudi 89th National Day celebrations in Riyadh. AP Photo. 
A Saudi dance troupe in traditional dress perform during a concert titled "mettle to the top" concert for the Saudi 89th National Day celebrations in Riyadh. AP Photo. 

Saudi's 89th National Day takes place on Monday, but celebrations are already in full swing. Social media is awash with various green-and-white themed activities as the kingdom's citizens show their patriotism.

Saudi is marking the national holiday this year with a four-day holiday, from September 20 to 23.

Here's how people have been commemorating National Day so far:

1. Airport celebrations in Dubai

Many of the Saudi nationals celebrate the four-day weekend with a trip to Dubai, so it's fitting that Dubai International Airport came to the party – quite literally.

Dubai's main airport has gone all out this year, bedecking the arrivals terminal in green and white decorations and having helpers on hand to meet incoming flights from Saudi Arabia with little gifts and souvenirs.

One video shows an influx of Saudi travellers into the UAE being greeted by national Saudi songs, and staff members wearing patriotic shawls and waving flags, giving out Saudi-themed goodie bags to visitors.

2. Meditating at Al Qara Mountain

The 75-metre-high mountain in the Al Ahsa region is known for its cool climes, so it's the perfect summer escape for many Saudis. It's home to caves that are known not only for their distinctive shape, but also the cool air that can be found inside, making them a hot spot for domestic tourists. The cave network, made up of 28 linear passageways, totals 1.5 kilometres in length.

For Saudi National Day this year, it's become home to those seeking relaxation time as part of a meditation event.

3. A colourful new plane

Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) have commemorated the occasion with a Saudi Arabian-inspired Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

It's the first in a series of special liveries being launched by the airline, which is paying tribute to Adnoc's key international trading markets, industry partners, as well as the destinations served by Etihad.

The bespoke livery on the Etihad Dreamliner. Courtesy Etihad
The bespoke livery on the Etihad Dreamliner. Courtesy Etihad

4. A moving video

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national petroleum and natural gas company, has produced a slick new advertisement which has racked up millions of views since its release just three days ago. For National Day, the two and a half minute clip pays tribute to the kingdom's past achievements, and its "future glory" through the story of a young boy making his way around the country.

There are some magnificent landscapes to be seen, which is perhaps a good teaser for what's to come, as the country opens itself up for tourism. At the time of writing, the video had been watched 7.4 million times.

5. Dazzling fireworks

It's a time-honoured way to celebrate a special occasion, and the skies are already lighting up across Saudi. Although the main fireworks displays are scheduled in Jeddah and Riyadh for Monday, smaller displays have taken place in various locations across the country already.

For the main event in Jeddah, 700,000 fireworks are set to be fired from just off the Al-Hamra Corniche.

In Dubai, several parts of the city will also light up on Monday night.

If you're around the Dubai Marina or JBR, there will be a fireworks display over The Beach and Bluewaters, with an Ain Dubai backdrop. A separate display will light up The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai Festival City Mall's Imagine show has also been turned into a fire, lasers and lights show, set to Saudi music until Monday night.

The Burj Khalifa will also be lit with the Saudi flag on Monday. There will also be a special Dubai Fountain rendition of the country's national anthem.

Saudi soldiers parade during a concert titled "mettle to the top" at the green hall theatre marking Saudi 89th National Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, late Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Saudi soldiers parade during a concert in Riyadh on Saturday. AP Photo.

6. Colourful performances

Several wide-ranging events and activities are planned for the 13 regions across the country for the long weekend.

In Riyadh, a concert was held on Saturday, entitled "mettle to the top", which is inspired by the slogan of this year's National Day, which is a quote from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: "Saudis' mettle is like that of the Tuwaiq mountain." It featured dance troupes and a military parade.

Dancers perform during a concert in Riyadh. AP Photo. 
Dancers perform during a concert in Riyadh. AP Photo.

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Read more:

Etihad and Adnoc celebrate Saudi National Day with special livery Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Celebrate Saudi National Day in Dubai with fireworks and live music

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Updated: September 22, 2019 03:56 PM

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