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 2019, the UAE Government also announced that Commemoration Day (previously known as Martyrs Day) had been moved to 1 December 2019 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 2019
You can catch fireworks across the city on both Sunday 1 December and Monday 2 December:
1 December 2019
- Al Seef 8pm
- La Mer 8.30pm
- The Beach 9pm
2 December 2019
- The Pointe 8pm
- Al Seef 8pm
- La Mer 8.30pm
- The Beach 9pm
- Global Village 9pm
Dubai National Day Events
Catch “Faces of the Nation” a light projection show at Festival City Mall on 2 December, 8pm and 10pm. These shows will culminate in fireworks displays.
The light and sound fountain shows continue as always at Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai. You will find extra special hourly shows at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm on 1 & 2 December 2019. Stop in at Souq al Bahar for more cultural displays and events throughout the day run by SMCCU.
Lots of special events going on all over the weekend – enjoy 48% off the already cheap entry tickets, then inside enjoy “The Operatta – Zayed Leader of the Humans” on the main stage, followed by the largest gathering reciting the National Anthem at 9pm on 1 & 2 December. Take part in finger paining a giant UAE flag and there will be UAE flag giveaways for guests.
The beachfront venue La Mer will have nightly concerts on 29 November, 1 December and 2 December at 9pm. Catch Emirati artists Eida Al Menhali, Balqees, Hussain Al Jassmi and Kuwaiti star Essa Al Marzouq.
Attraction Discounts in Dubai
National Day also brings with it a number of amazing offers for residents and tourists alike. Look out for:
Dubai Parks and Resorts
Buy one full-price ticket to any of the parks (Legoland Dubai, Legoland Water Park, Motiongate Dubai or Bollywood Parks) and get up to 3 more tickets for your family & friends for only 48AED each!
Wonder Maze, Riverland at Dubai Parks and Resorts
A special one for your under 15’s, they can enjoy a FREE turn at the world’s largest portable maze – the Wonder Maze Riverland if they are wearing national colours or carrying a UAE flag.
The incredible stage show that’s taken Dubai by storm is offering 48% off tickets booked for National Day weekend, Thursday 28 November to Tuesday 3 December 2019 inclusive. Shows are at 7pm and 9.30pm.
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.
- The holidays in 2019 also coincide with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race is held at 5pm, Sunday 1 December at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Before you go… Planning advice for visiting 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.
- 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: