The official celebration of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee took place today December 2nd, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, in the city of Hatta. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohamed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and His Highness Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, attended on Thursday the official 50th National Day celebrations. The celebration was also attended by a number of ministers and high-ranking officials.
Set against the scenic landscape of Hatta’s dams and Hajar mountains, the 50th National Day celebrations mark a significant milestone for the UAE as it celebrates its Golden Jubilee. Everyone in the UAE had the opportunity to watch the live show broadcasted on all local TV Channels, in addition to the National Day’s official website. Screenings were also organised in all seven emirates for the public, including Cinemas, cultural spaces, and public places.
The celebrations featured a sculpture set on a floating stage in the middle of the Hatta Dam amidst the breathtaking landscape of Hatta. The UAE 50th National Day show, which highlighted the strong bonds between the people of the UAE and nature, was performed in chapters detailing UAE’s pre-union history, historic moments from the last fifty years, and imagining the UAE’s Future in the next fifty years.
Chapter 1: The Land and the Line
The 50th National Day show commenced with 50 drummers revealed around the periphery of an oval lake floating on the deep teal water of the reservoir at the Hatta Dam. The performers introduced intergenerational percussive rhythms as they echoed around the mountains.
This was followed by Nadbat Al Shihuh performance in the mountains- an ancient mountainous and cultural ceremonial cry native to the Shihuh, one of the UAE’s tribes- as it transformed the landscape into a musical instrument that signalled the beginning of the official celebration of the UAE 50th National Day.
The sculpture revealed a single line representing the first marks made by humans on the land. From these early traces, the story of the UAE unravelled, and the lines moved and transformed into Wusoom, which were marks used by tribes in the UAE to identify their livestock. The lines then changed and developed into the 18 Wusoom representing the tribes’ clans and families of the UAE.
Chapter 2: People on the Move
The sculpture then transformed yet again to tell the story of the tribes of the UAE and their instinctive abilities to engineer time and space- using technology and nature. An ancient sundial appeared to signal the beginning of time-keeping, followed by a reveal of the earliest form of the Emirati Compass, known as the Deira.
200 Nano LED Drones illuminated the sky as the sculpture showed glowing lines that marked the UAE’s early trade routes. The lines then transformed yet again to unveil Deirat Al Duroor – the ancient astronomical system developed by people of the UAE centuries ago, to determine seasonal rituals in harmony with natural cycles.
Chapter 3: Mothers and Roots
Stories heard for the first time were narrated through striking visuals and poetry featuring some of UAE’s most distinguished women.
Sheikha Maitha bint Salmeen Al Mansoori, wife of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa, grandfather of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Sheikha Hessa bint Al Murr Al Falasi, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s grandmother.
Shamsa bint Sultan Al Marar, a renowned pearl diver and fisherwoman.
Hamama bint Obaid Al Teneji, a distinguished healer and botanist.
The chapter wrapped up with a celebration of the Mother of the Nation, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF). Her Highness leads several worldwide and UAE-focused humanitarian and philanthropic initiatives to support women and children.
Chapter 4: The Idea of the Union
Against a stunning backdrop of the Hajar Mountains, a silhouette of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan rose on top of the sculpture as the fog started to appear, in a creative reenactment of the early morning in February 1968, when the idea of the Union first began.
It was then that the accord of the Union appeared, with the ink of the Founders’ signatures followed by a projection of the iconic photograph of the seven rulers, taken on the 2nd of December 1971.
Chapter 5: Zayed Beautified It
The sculpture then presented a desert punctuated by palm trees and more than 98 plants – a mixture of 13 native species, in a tribute to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision of turning the desert into a green oasis.
The sculpture then revealed the UAE’s most ambitious architectural formations: from the humble Shaabi houses, through wind towers and forts, to more than 97 Iconic UAE buildings.
Chapter 6: The National Anthem of the United Arab Emirates
Everyone on the Grandstand were asked to stand for the National Anthem of the United Arab Emirates
Chapter 7: This is the UAE
In a stunning performance, the sculpture developed from the Deira, the first time-keeping tool, to a complex timepiece that calibrated the UAE’s history through time and space. Archival footage was projected, marking key moments in the nation’s history and moving through time until the present moment, culminating in Expo 2020 Dubai.
The UAE 50th National Day’s official song played, titled “Hathy El Emarat”, meaning “this is the UAE” which was released to the public a day before the UAE’s National Day.
Chapter 8: Letters to the Future
The show then paid tribute to the Year of the 50th earlier initiative, when people in the UAE were invited to write Letters to the Future to imagine the nation’s next 50 years leading to the UAE’s centennial 2071.
Three girls appeared on the floating lake, dressed in traditional Emirati clothing, and sitting on school desks. The first girl started to read the letter to her future self, wondering about space exploration. The girl is then revealed to be Nora Al Matrooshi, UAE’s first Arab woman training to be an astronaut. The sculpture then transformed into a rocket launching pad with outstanding visual and sonic effects.
Furthermore, the second girl then started to read her letter, in which she detailed her love for animals and fish. The girl is Maitha Bu Ghunoom, an Emirati PhD candidate focusing her research on Dugongs in Abu Dhabi.
A falcon appeared slowly flying in harmony with its shadow on the sculpture while it turned to reveal the rich flora and fauna of the UAE.
Moreover, the third girl then read a letter that questioned the vast data in the universe and the meaningful connections between nature and technology. The sculpture revealed a complex data network in a stunning display of future possibilities. The girl is Dr Tufool Al Nuaimi, a leading Emirati Data Scientist.
The UAE 50th National Day show then concluded with a firework display, a musical score that wrapped up the last fifty years of the nation’s history and signalled the beginning of the next fifty.
The UAE 50th National Day Show in Numbers:
For the first time in the UAE, 400 Pyro Drones released flares and Pyrotechnics during the show, which also featured 97 Iconic UAE buildings, 101 animals, 98 plants, 200 Nano LED Drones, 138 members of the cast, and 18 Wusooms (Tribe marks) that represented the different tribes and families in the UAE.
The creation of the UAE 50th National Day show took more than 147 days, with a team of more than 1,400 individuals from over 100 nationalities working for more than one million and 500 thousand man-hours on site.
Last week, the UAE Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee released a video media briefing that shed light on the team behind this year’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.The video revealed behind the scene footage, and is available to watch here.
On the artistic direction front, the official celebration is managed by Rawdha Al Qubaisi, Creative Executive Producer and Artistic Directors, Shaikha Al Ketbi and Es Devlin. The team worked with researchers from Bani and Al Culture led by Saeed Al Suwaidi, and the design team in Tinkah led by Kholoud Sharafi for the UAE 50th National Day brand. The musical composition was by international and local musicians, including Mohammed Al Ahmed, while The National Projects team managed all operations.
Audiences across the UAE can watch the spectacular show in person in Hatta, starting from the 4th until the 12th of December; tickets are available on www.UAENationalDay.ae