The UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations continued at Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday, as the Dubai Police Marching Band and Expo 2020 mascots, Rashid and Latifa led a ‘Colours of the World’ parade through Ghaf Circle and the three main districts, passing large crowds that lined up on both sides of the avenue, ready to capture the spectacle on their phones.
UAE National Day is celebrated every year to commemorate 2 December 1971 when the UAE declared independence as a sovereign nation following the efforts of UAE Founding Father, the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to unite the emirates.
As announced by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 2021 is known as ‘The Year of the 50th’. Commemorating 50 years since the founding of the UAE in 1971, it is a moment to reflect on the remarkable journey of its ‘Early Dreamers’ as the nation looks to the next 50 years with the same bold ambition.
Earlier, renowned Emirati performer AlWasmy led a stylistic traditional poetry recital known as ‘Al Azi’, in celebration of the Arabic values of unity, solidarity and courage at a packed Al Wasl Plaza.
AlWasmy gave a powerful performance, while the chorus, all holding swords, stood behind him and ‘answered’ his call, showcasing Emirati culture and heritage to an international audience. The poetry has its origins in the victory celebrations on battlefields, and is on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
Visitors came out in their numbers from early morning, flocking to the gates of Expo 2020 Dubai.
"We are so excited," said Okan Simsek, who arrived on Wednesday from Turkey with his partner. "We came to Dubai [specifically] to see the Expo."
"We want to see the future, see something we have never seen [before], something extraordinary," said Greg Kulan and his wife, both from Poland.
Robert and Karen Snow, a couple from Arizona in the US, both of whom have knee problems, toured the site on mobility scooters made available by Expo 2020 to People of Determination. This is their fifth visit to a world Expo. "We are excited. It's a wonderful place. The weather is perfect. Everything is well-organised and people are safety conscious.”
Yama Yasya from Ukraine came with three friends and said they are happy to be at the Expo 2020 and look forward to their visit. "We want to visit Germany and other pavilions," she said.
Baudrand Vincent and his wife came to Dubai from France just for the Expo. They said they were pleasantly surprised. "We expect to see beautiful things and the latest in technology from lots of different countries," the couple said.
There are plenty of events still ahead to celebrate the day, including Emirati artist, Fatma Zahrat Al Ain’s performance at Al Wasl Plaza for ‘Music in the Garden’ from 1515–1545 GST, and a flyover display by the UAE Air Force aerobatics team ‘Al Fursan’ from 1600 GST.
The Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre will host ‘Journey of a Thread’, a live performance of Emirati craftsmanship diving into the heart of Emirati culture from 1700–1730 GST.
From 1730–1900 GST, visitors can watch the UAE National Day ceremony on screens at Jubilee Stage and Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, with a live broadcast from Hatta.