For one of the UAE’s largest mountain tribes in Ras Al Khaimah, celebrating National Day is a labour of love that is weeks in the making.
Fittingly, it is an effort that brings an entire community together, much like the creation of the country did when seven emirates became one, 47 years ago.
Members of the Al Dhuhoori tribe in Shabieat Al Dhahuoori have been eager to put their patriotic pride on full display.
Hundreds of UAE flags flutter in front of their homes, while children have been memorising poems and songs for a month which they will perform at celebratory events on Sunday.
At the village entrance, members of the Hajar mountain tribe have placed a large poster of UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa, and another bearing the image of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, along with huge metal statues shaped in the numbers 4 and 7, painted in the UAE flag colours and surrounded by two tall flagpoles.
“It’s an opportunity that we seize to express our loyalty and pride in the way our country has developed and prospered throughout the years through the wisdom of our leaders and their unity which we are all proud of,” said Jasim Al Dhuhoori, a 35-year-old Emirati father-of-four.
“We started raising money from the families in the village last month and they were all happy to contribute and it took only a few days to collect more than Dh10,000, which covered all the decorations expenses.”
Jasim said that the village will celebrate National day early on Saturday, before they head to Dibba to join with other tribes for a huge event that is being organised there.
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“Saturday we will be in Dibba celebrating with the other part of the Al Dhahuoori tribe there and on Monday we will go to Abu Dhabi to participate in the big tribes’ parade to commemorate National Day while wearing our distinguished traditional outfit,” he said.
It is an occasion that inspires young and old alike.
“The children are very excited and prepared to share their love for the country.
“They have memorised many national songs and prepared their outfits for the occasion.
“They are very proud of their traditions and culture and that makes me feel happy and reassured that the country will be in good hands in the future,” he said.
Saeed Al Dhahuoori, who established a heritage village in his farm at the village 21 years ago, is in retrospective mood during the annual celebrations.
He reflects on the journey undertook by Sheikh Zayed to transform a fledgling country's fortunes, as well as the massive strides still being made today.
“Sheikh Zayed said, ‘he who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it is from the past that we learn’, and this is what I’m trying to do and encourage others to do the same and walk at Sheikh Zayed pace,” said Saeed, 55.
Saeed has hoisted several flags around his farm to commemorate the day and lined up the UAE leaders’ carton board statues at the farm’s front yard under an impressive picture of Sheikh Zayed.
“This is only the beginning as we have just started decorating.
“The farm will soon be ready in order to start welcoming family members, friends and visitors who love to learn about the country’s heritage, history and traditions.
“The country runs in my veins and celebrating its achievements throughout the years is our duty and a way to show our loyalty and willingness to give our lives to the country and to our beloved leaders who always think about their people,” he said.
Another member of the tribe, Ahmed Dhahuoori, 23, said that they received invitations from other tribes in the area and they will joining them on Saturday before they head to the capital for National Day itself.
“It’s like Eid in here where everyone dresses up nicely while mothers prepare traditional food and share it with others, we will spend Saturday morning here in the village and then go to Al Rams area to attend the celebrations there and then go to Abu Dhabi on Sunday,” said Ahmed.