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In pictures: The visual treat at UAE National Day programme



Here are the highlights of the show and some little-known facts about the nation

The official ceremony that marked the 51st UAE National Day at Adnec was a spectacular visual treat that chronicled the story of this country from its formation 1971 to now. The show also looked forward until 2071 to give a glimpse of what the future would look like. Khaleej Times puts together some of the highlights of the show and little-known facts about the country we all call home.


National Anthem

The National Day official ceremony commenced with an Emirati choir, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Emirati musicians performing the UAE National Anthem. Did you know that the anthem was composed by Saad Abdel Wahab in 1971 and did not have any lyrics until 1986? The lyrics were written by Dr Aref Al Sheikh, commissioned by the acting Minister of Education at the time – Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer.

Tribute to Sheikh Khalifa


The ceremony paid tribute to the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE from 2004 to 2022. Archival footage celebrated his outstanding achievements and positive impact on various fields, including the environment, sustainability, technology, economy and education.

Emirati sea heritage

This segment celebrated the rich biodiversity of UAE aquatic life through a parade. Most large props in this segment were made and hand-painted in the UAE by local craftspeople and artisans. The UAE’s efforts to preserve local sea life are projected to recover at least 70% of the country’s fish stock by 2030.



Approximately 10,000 mangroves were part of the ceremony, and all mangrove saplings will be planted in different parts of the UAE. This will contribute to the pledge the UAE made at COP27 to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030.


Etihad Rail

The eagerness and excitement for the Etihad Rail that is currently taking shape across the country is second to none. The ceremony featured civil engineer Khuloud Al Mazrouei who spoke about her role in the project. The passenger train will connect all emirates and each train will carry up to 400 passengers. The Etihad Railway project consists of 1200km of tracks and will have the capacity to transport 36.5 million passengers annually.

Children’s Parade


Students of various nationalities and ages were part of the National Day ceremony. The UAE has made great strides in literacy, jumping from an average of 53% in 1975 to 96% today. The country has 1,404 public and private schools in all emirates where 1,346,000 students of 200 nationalities study.


The ceremony was concluded with a performance of the traditional Al Ayyala weapon dance. An ageless tradition, Al Ayyala exemplifies the rich Emirati heritage and symbolises union and cohesion. More than 200 performers participated in the 51st UAE National Day official ceremony.


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