09/09/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/09/2021 21:02
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Updated 9 September 2021
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will celebrate the 91st iteration of its National Day on 23 September 2021. The National Day (اليوم الوطني- al-Yaum al-Wathani) commemorates the unification of the various Bedouin tribes, sultanates, minor kingdoms and emirates across a large area of the Arabian Peninsula stretching from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf.
In the year 1932, the land was finally unified under the banner of Abdul Al-Aziz ibn Saud, the founding father of Saudi Arabia, who then proceeded to assume the mantle of the Kingdom's first king as well as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
Although steeped in history, the National Day has only been officially recognized as a national holiday to be celebrated in a festive manner since the year 2005. Previously, only religious holidays were celebrated in Saudi Arabia, namely the Eid al-Fitr and the Eid al-Adha.
That said, let us take a closer look at how the Kingdom and its people celebrate this highly significant commemoration.
Image © countryflags.com
The color green is a recurring theme in National Day, as it is the dominant color of the Saudi Arabian flag. The Saudi flag features white calligraphy set on a green backdrop that reads, 'There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God,' which is essentially the profession of faith that every Muslim utters as they perform their daily prayers.
Just under the inscription, a sword is depicted which symbolizes King Abdul Aziz, the first sovereign of the Kingdom. The flag's primary color is also a symbolism of Islam and is believed to be the favored color of the Prophet Muhammad.
As with many other flags around the world, the Saudi Arabian flag represents the kingdom's rich history, lofty philosophical ideas as well as national pride and identity. On National Day, you'll find no shortage of people wearing green and taking pride in their heritage as countless green flags are waving in the wind.
Holidays, festivities and celebration
Image © arabianbusiness.com
Prior to the pandemic, Saudi citizens look forward to National Day as it presented the opportunity to take some time off from work and get together with friends or family on a two-day (or more) public holiday.
Events such as light shows and cultural exhibits were held in the country's capital during the commemoration. With malls, hotels, restaurants and just about every other establishment readily offering special deals and discounts on their services and products, many Saudis understandably regard the National Day as a truly special occasion.
Furthermore, due to its significance, the National Day has also been traditionally been regarded as the day of choice for the Saudi Government to make ground-breaking inaugurations and announcements.
For example, in 2009, King Abdullah University of Technology was formally opened on 23 September with numerous heads of state in attendance. In 2014, it was the city of Jeddah's turn to impress as they unveiled the world's tallest flagpole specifically erected to commemorate the National Day.
Image © abouther.com
All in all, the National Day celebration signifies how far the Saudis have come as a nation and truly provides an excellent opportunity for the younger generation to learn more about their heritage.