Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy '39th' UAE National Day!

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December 2 marks the 39th UAE National Day*
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Four years ago, the UAE won the Gulf Football Cup. This may not have registered on everyone’s radar at the time, had the streets not suddenly streamed with cars decorated in UAE colours, their passengers either riding the roofs or jumping out and silly-spraying anyone who might have been silly enough to ask what on earth was going on. Luckily for us, there is a similar swell of patriotism every year on December 2 – UAE National Day. This marks the date, now 39 years ago, when the seven emirates were first united, in Union House at the top of Diyafah Street, Satwa – the spot where the giant UAE flag now waves.

The decorated-car theme continues for this annual event, with various parades and fireworks across town, as well as boating galas and plenty of freebies. You’ll notice flags absolutely everywhere – pinned to people’s chests, lining roads and across buildings; last year Sharjah unveiled the world’s biggest flag, while Fujairah formed the longest-ever UAE flag across 413 cars. Abu Dhabi hosted the biggest fireworks display and the world’s largest mosaic work (created by Syrian artist Riyadh Nawwaf Ar-radhiya, comprised of 98,000 mosaic stones) was displayed in Mall of the Emirates. 

The UAE’s history
1892 The UK forms a treaty with the emirates as seven ‘Trucial Sheikhdoms’.

19th and early 20th century
The local pearl industry booms then busts, following the world wars and global economic slump. Oil is discovered in the 1960s.

1971 The UK’s treaty expires, and the sheikhdoms become independent.
The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, then Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, decide to form an independent union between their two emirates.

December 2, 1971
The United Arab Emirates is formed between six emirates. Ras al Khaimah joins later, in early 1972.

© Bitten by an Arab bug ®
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