x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Images of pride and joy, everywhere you look

Streets, buildings and vehicles in Ajman were adorned with the national colours while residents dressed to the nines in celebration of National Day in the Northern Emirate.

Cars in Ajman parade alongside the corniche in celebration of the 42nd UAE National Day.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Cars in Ajman parade alongside the corniche in celebration of the 42nd UAE National Day. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

AJMAN // Along the streets and roads of Ajman, it is not only the people who are looking their best on National Day.

Villas and flats of Emiratis and expatriates, government buildings large and small, every street, every car and every lamppost has been polished, decorated and adorned with flags and lights.

Buildings are no longer bare concrete or mere structures of steel and glass. On National Day they are giant, colourful testimonials to a 42-year-old nation’s self-belief, optimism and unity.

Hundreds of small flags hang from some, while on others impossibly huge standards flutter in the wind.

Some of the greatest, most magnificent tributes are the structures that have been entirely covered in the red, white, green and black colours that have come to unify seven emirates as a single nation.

Not to be outdone, the city centre and the malls, already decorated to the hilt, hold history contests that reward those with the most patriotic memories.

Shops hold sales galore and customers rejoice as the ring of tills plays a melody celebrating the happy event.

The flapping flags provide further background music to the main score: the people’s cheers, the honking of car horns and the patriotic songs sung by revellers leaning from open windows in their homes and cars.

Vehicles fill the roads and drivers wave to every passer-by, while on the pavements men shake hands, women nod their approval and children of all nationalities play together, waving flags and wearing traditional clothes.

Crowds swell the Corniche, with their numbers ever greater as the days of celebration wear on.

Many head to a stage where they enjoy songs, traditional dancing and contests. For some, watching on turns into participation as members of the audience are invited on to the stage to perform.

Nearby, a huge screen displays quotes from Sheikh Zayed, founder of the nation, on the importance of unity and brotherhood.

Songs celebrating the UAE’s successes are sung at medical centres as luminaries such as Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the Ruler’s son, and the Egyptian consul look on.

Union brought development to the emirate’s health sector, says Hamad Al Shamsi, director of Ajman Medical Zone.

National Day is a “sincere and solid confirmation of the deep relationship binding the leadership and the people”, he adds.

“And with every anniversary that comes, this relationship grows stronger.”