Looking to visit Dubai over the National Day weekend in early December?
It 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 to mark the day the country of the United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971 under a Federal Constitutional Monarchy.
In 2020, Commemoration Day (previously known as Martyrs Day) will be observed on 1 December to coincide with National Day Celebrations on 2 & 3 December. Most UAE residents are granted a 5 day weekend to celebrate.
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 (8 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.
A full program of events including special programs for National Day at Souq al Bahar can be found here.
Dubai National Day Fireworks 2020
There are fewer National Day fireworks events than usual this year, at venues where crowd numbers can be controlled and social distancing maintained. The evening events we are aware of will be held at:
Dubai Festival City – Wednesday 2 December 2020
There will be two fireworks displays at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm as part of an Arabic-themes Imagine light show. Participating restaurants will offer two rounds of socially distanced seating. Choose from; Al Fanar, Chili’s, Peppermill, Famous Dave’s, Five Guys, Nando’s, Semsom, Turkish Village, Joe’s Crab Shack and the InterContinental Dubai – Festival City.
The Pointe – Tuesday 1 December 2020
After recently setting the record as the largest fountain show in the world, The Pointe’s The Palm Fountain will be putting on another spectacular fireworks and fountain display against the backdrop of Atlantis the Palm. The show, by Emirati composer Ihab Darwish, will include a live orchestra and is inspired by the spirit of Dubai.
Their regular evening fountain display will run as normal from 6:00 pm with the fireworks will take place at 9pm. Selected restaurants at The Pointe will offer special promotions to celebrate.
La Mer – Wednesday 2 December 2020
There are two firework displays scheduled to take place on La Mer Beach over National Day, at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm. They can be enjoyed for free along the waterfront, or from one of La Mer’s many dining venues.
There will also be live performances from December 2 to 4 from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm by local singers Sara Tarabulsi and Beatbox Ray, music by DJ Kel, a speed painter, and more.
From 2 to 5 December Dubai’s Global Village will have National Day fireworks every evening at 9:00 pm.
Discover the Art of Wonder exhibition with 7 original pop-art installations designed to celebrate the unity of the 7 emirates and the diversity of our great nation. Check out the funky exhibits which feature the Spirit of the Union, the Majestic Falcon, and more.
Also lookout for the classic performance by Ornina, National Operetta: Emarat, Land of Peace. This beautiful stage show celebrates the history of the UAE, featuring milestones like the Declaration of the Union as well as the Mars Hope Probe mission launch.
NB – there will be no fireworks display occurring at Downtown Dubai/Burj Khalifa for National Day, but do keep your eye our on 1 December 2020, 9:00 pm for a special event sponsored by Pepsi. As well as limited edition cans that will go on sale over the long weekend the sky will be turning blue for a special promotion – follow along on social media @pepsi_arabia.
The normal Burj Lightshow and Fountain Show program will run on 2 December, with no doubt an Emirati theme for National Day 49.
Virtual Event – Seeds of the Union Show
During this difficult year where social distancing must be maintained, even over important national events, the country’s main event to mark National Day 49 “Seeds of the Union Show” will be televised live across the UAE and beyond on 2 December 2020.
The show will pay a moving tribute to the UAE’s Founding Fathers, whose long-term vision of harmony and solidarity led to the formal unification of the UAE.
Attraction Discounts in Dubai
National Day also brings with it a number of amazing offers for residents and tourists alike. Look out for:
Motiongate & Legoland – Dubai Parks and Resorts
Motiongate is wooing us back with a fabulous 5-Day offer – pay just 149 AED and get 5 days of access to Motionagte from 1 to 5 December 2020 – see national Day 49 ticket deal here.
And in exciting late news, Legoland Dubai is FINALLY reopening after a very long COVID-period closure with a wonderful 49% discount for all visitors aged 3 and over – making a day pass ticket between 1 and 5 December 2020 just 140.25 AED.
Splash ‘n’ Party
Enjoy Dubai’s fun-filled water park perfect for your little kids over National Day long weekend for just 49 AED per child (one adult free per child). Available from 1 to 5 December 9:00 am to 8:00 pm – attractions include splash pads, live underwater mermaids, live entertainment, and much more.
Other things to know about National Day Holidays in Dubai
- Schools, Government offices and most businesses will have 3 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: