x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

“We welcome everyone”: Emiratis and residents unite in celebration of National Day in Sharjah

Fireworks and light shows lit up Sharjah, with Emiratis and residents united in celebration of National Day.

Emiratis perform traditional dance during the National Day celebrations on Flag Island in Sharjah. People were treated to a tour of the heritage village and an operetta show. Antonie Robertson / The National
Emiratis perform traditional dance during the National Day celebrations on Flag Island in Sharjah. People were treated to a tour of the heritage village and an operetta show. Antonie Robertson / The National

SHARJAH // A dazzling fireworks display lit up the skies as Emiratis and residents united in celebration of National Day.

Al Qasba and Al Majaz Waterfronts were packed with people from 8pm, with shows taking place at intervals throughout the night.

A particularly special performance took place at Al Majaz, with a spectacular show of light, sound and water.

“Everywhere one can see red, green, black and white colours that make up the UAE flag. The colours are on houses, cars and happy people of all colours and nationalities,” said Abdul Rahman Al Mulla, an Emirati enjoying the celebrations on the corniche.

“This is evidence, if any was needed, that we, the UAE, are a country that welcomes everyone, and everyone is happy with us.”

But the celebrations had started much earlier with a parade at about 4pm starting from the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation to the Heart of Sharjah.

There was also a procession of riders on horseback accompanied by groups of children from local schools and clubs.

At the Heart of Sharjah, family events took centre stage, with a children’s corner, a photo booth where visitors took pictures with traditional dress and a henna corner where women and girls had their hands decorated.

Other activities included folklore bands, Emirati traditional food, a UAE traditional dress contest and many competitions with cash prizes.

Mohammed Al Serkal, another resident who was at the corniche parade, had decorated his car with the UAE flag.

He said it shows how proud he was to be an Emirati.

“Before the 42 years, this word Emirati did not exist and on December 2 it came, and look at the kind of pride it has given us here and all over the world,” he said.

At Flag Island, people were treated to a tour of the heritage village and an operetta show – “The Story of a Flag – a Nation’s Dream”.

The operetta featured nine musical shows performed by renowned Emirati singers Hussein Al Jasmi, Fayez Al Saeed, Hazzaa, Jassim Mohammed and Oraieb, as well as more than 750 local schoolchildren and hundreds of volunteers.

The Sharjah Transport Corporation also got in on the act by providing free transport to many of the events.

Mundh Rajput, who lives in an industrial area, took advantage of the free travel to attend the Flag Day celebrations.

“Before, I always stayed in my accommodation on such big days but today my friend told me ‘let’s go to the Flag Island – the buses are free’.

“I am very happy to be part of these celebrations and watching all these shows, all the stress has gone,” he said.

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority also unveiled three 75-metre flagpoles in Kalba, Al Dhaid and Dibba Al Hisn cities in the emirate.

Senior government officials attended the ceremonies.

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairwoman of the authority, said that the idea for unveiling the flags came from Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah, to promote tourism in the emirate.

“The UAE has accomplished a lot of achievements during the last 42 years in all areas of life and makes its citizens’ lives better. These flagpoles are an icon of the UAE citizens’ pride of the role played by the Union in maintaining our identity, boosting our capabilities and developing our communities to claim the rightful place among the world’s civilised nations, in terms of economic, architectural, social and cultural development,” she said.

“These achievements have elevated the country to prestigious position in the ranks of most advanced countries in the world.”

ykakande@thenational.ae