Golden Jubilee celebrations marking 50 years of unification for the United Arab Emirates
What an incredible and momentous occasion to be in Dubai for; 50 years since the country was unified.
Early December is one of the most wonderful times of year to be in Dubai. Not only do you experience fantastic mild weather, but there is always so much going on from the joy of many seasonal events returning to the great outdoors to winter festivals, markets and of course the country’s birthday – National Day!
National Day is celebrated on 2 December annually to mark the day the country of the United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971 under a Federal Constitutional Monarchy.
In 2021, Commemoration Day (previously known as Martyrs Day) will be observed on Wednesday 1 December to coincide with National Day Celebrations on Thursday 2 & Friday 3 December. Most UAE residents are granted a 4 day weekend to celebrate – 1 to 4 December 2021.
UAE Official Golden Jubilee Event – Hatta
The flagship event to mark National Day 50 will be held at Hatta Dam, in the Hatta Mountains, Dubai Emirate on 2 December 2021 from 5:30 PM.
The theatrical broadcast will take viewers on a journey through the land’s history, present, and future through creative storytelling. You will find more details and how to live stream the event, along with a great briefing on the UAE’s history here – uaenationalday.ae
In addition to the main ceremony (VIP invites only), repeat performances will be held for a further 9 days at a ticketed event for the public:
Book your tickets to the National Day celebratory event here (300 AED per person)
- 4th December 2021 – 12 December 2021
- Proof of 2 vaccinations Or Valid PCR negative test within the last 72 hours of the event.
Dubai National Day Events & Fireworks 2021
We are still awaiting a complete lineup of events for National Day, but here are the ones that we know so far and venues with a great reputation for putting on a fabulous display for National Day.
We would strongly advise booking early for anywhere reporting to have firework views and expect to pay significantly more than usual at restaurants offering front row seats.
Dubai Festival City – Thursday 2 December 2021
There will be two fireworks displays at 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM as part of an Arabic-themes Imagine light show. Hear the national anthem performed by Rashed al Nuaimi.
Global Village – 3 November to 4 December 2021
Not just a long weekend of celebrations but a whole month! From Flag Day on 3 November 2021 through to the long weekend, every night will bring with it a special event marking “50 years of Togetherness”.
Look out for their #together photography contest with up to 102,000 AED prizes, plus an under 18’s competition to celebrate multiculturalism. There’s also UAE Kids Quizzes in conjunction with the Dubai Cultural Authority and spectacular Colours of the UAE to be experienced in the sky just before sunset on 2 December 2021.
From 1 to 4 December 2021 Dubai’s Global Village will host National Day Operetta “Luminous Years” to be performed on the main stage with theatrical dance and poetic dialogues.
The National Youth Orchestra will also be playing a 40-minute performance from 2 to 4 December as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations and leading the UAE National Anthem.
Normal entry fees to Globel Village apply of 15 AED to participate in these events.
The Pointe – Thursday 2 December 2021
The Pointe’s The Palm Fountain we suspect will be putting on another spectacular fireworks and fountain display against the backdrop of Atlantis the Palm.
Their regular evening fountain display will run as normal from 6:00 PM with the fireworks will take place at 9:00 PM Selected restaurants at The Pointe will offer special promotions to celebrate.
Expo 2020 – All weekend
There’s a huge line up of National Day events spread all over the weekend at different venues within Expo 2020. The “main event” fireworks will take place nightly at 8:00 PM over Al Wasl Avenue, and the formal National Day ceremony at 10:15 AM on 2 December 2021.
Expo 2020 will be free on 2 December so do come prepared for extreme crowds and possibly being turned away if the event hits capacity for safety.
La Mer – Friday 3 December 2021
Keep your eye out at 8:30 PM on Friday the 3rd of December 2021 for the La Mer fireworks display. A
JBR / Bluewaters – 1, 2 & 3 December
National Day celebrations will take place over all three days, with three light shows taking place between 6:30 PM and 10:00 PM from Bluewaters Island (Ain Dubai observation wheel), easy to view from The Beach, JBR.
The action will be topped off with a 3-minute fireworks show at 8:30 PM on 2 December.
Downtown Dubai – TBC
We are awaiting news of an official National Day event for the Burj Khalifa and the surrounding Downtown area of the city. The normal Burj Lightshow and Fountain Show program will run throughout the long weekend.
If you want front-row seats at one of the nearby restaurants, make sure you check out our guide to the best dining venues on Burj Lake.
National Day Events & Cultural Traditions in Dubai
As well as fireworks, flags, and festivals, there are many traditional events that you will see all over town. Here’s what you might expect to see and experience:
- Al Ayala Dance – Also known as Ayyala, yowalah or stick dancing is an Emirati traditional group dance with separate groups of males and females. Men in their kanduras face one another in rows with bamboo sticks, whilst musicians move between them. Girls in traditional dress (far more colourful than the usual black) will stand in front tossing their long black hair from side to side. (The dance is so important to the country’s heritage it is now recorded on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage Items of Humanity)
- Yola Dance – Also known as Yowla, Yollah or al-yawlah is a traditional weapons dance or victory dance., involving boys or men swinging sticks, swords or (replica!) rifles.
- Falconry Displays – a highly valued custom in the UAE, falconry displays help visitors understand the importance of these birds of prey to Bedouin life.
- Ishy Bilady – the country’s national anthem will be played loud and clear throughout events over the weekend – you can pick up some pointers on the words here (10 years+ living here don’t worry there are still parts I hum!)
For learning more about the country’s culture and heritage, we strongly recommend you include a visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in your Dubai itinerary.
COVID Rules for UAE National Day & Commemoration Day
Please be mindful of the following rules if attending any Commemoration Day or National Day celebratory events.
With national celebrations around the corner, today we are announcing a new protocol to attend the activities of the Commemoration Day and the 50th UAE National Day.#TogetherWeRecover pic.twitter.com/LWuxxPHFmK— NCEMA UAE (@NCEMAUAE) November 2, 2021
Attraction Discounts & Special Events in Dubai
National Day also brings with it a number of amazing offers for residents and tourists alike. We’re still collating deals now (expect many to be announced rather last minute!) but look out for:
Legoland – Dubai Parks and Resorts
From 25 November to 4 December 2021 enjoy a special program of events at Legoland.
Visitors can take part in building the largest UAE LEGO Minifigure Flag (set to include 20,000 LEGO Minifigures!), search for UAE Flags in the “UAE LEGO Flag Hunt” and stop for a photo with their famous “Salute” LEGO model made from 108,231 LEGO bricks for your favourite Instagrammable moments.
Enjoy a combo meal at Knight’s Table for just 50 AED.
From November 26 to December 4, Times Square Center will host a series of workshops and an interactive photo booth that will reflect and celebrate the achievements of the UAE as the country celebrates its Jubilee 50th anniversary.
Times Square Center in partnership with Foto.UAE and Sharaf DG and will host a photo exhibition themed ‘Between Seconds and Years’ photography competition where 20 local photographers will showcase pictures of memorable moments in the UAE.
Kids can also enjoy making greeting cards and papercrafts in the UAE flag colours during this celebratory occasion.
Other things to know about National Day Holidays in Dubai
- Schools, Government offices and most businesses will have 2 days work days off to celebrate this special occasion – visitors should be mindful of this if they need any sort of visa processing etc.
- If you have a car, public parking is free! (but be mindful everywhere can be INCREDIBLY busy!)
- Want to get dressed up? Go for it! Traditional dress of the colours of the UAE flag, locals and residents alike wear the UAE’s colours of red, green, white and black with pride, you should feel free to do the same.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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