National celebrations marking 51 years of unification for the United Arab Emirates
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 2022, Commemoration Day (previously known as Martyrs Day) will be observed on Thursday, 1 December, to coincide with National Day Celebrations on Friday, 2 & Saturday, 3 December 2023.
Most UAE residents are granted a 4-day weekend to celebrate – 1 to 4 December 2022.
Dubai National Day Events & Fireworks 2022
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 fireworks views and expect to pay significantly more than usual at restaurants offering front-row seats.
Dubai Festival City – Friday 2 December 2022 (TBC 2022)
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 – 1 to 4 December 2022
Always a fun way to mark National Day in the UAE, Dubai Global Village will be putting on special shows from 1 to 4 December this year, including National Day Orchestra, Violin Virtuoso, and an enchanting harpist.
Normal entry fees to Globel Village apply of 15 AED to participate in these events.
The Pointe – Friday, 2 December 2022 (TBC)
The Pointe’s The Palm Fountain 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.
La Mer – Friday 2 December 2022 (TBC)
Keep your eye out at 8:30 PM on Friday, the 3rd of December 2022 for the La Mer fireworks display.
JBR / Bluewaters – TBC 2022
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 2022
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.
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 2022 enjoy a special program of events at Legoland for National Day 51.
Help build a UAE minifigure flag, take part in a UAE Scavenger Hunt and grab your collectors brick from the Lego factory.
Times Square (TBC 2022)
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.
More coming soon as we update this round up on National Day 51 events in Dubai for 2022
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 from iVenture or a Go City 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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