On the 2nd of December 2011 the United Arab Emirates celebrated it's 40th anniversary. This is the 8th year in a row we were here to celebrate with them, but this time it was different. We knew by now that Emirati people love to party on National Day and we suspected that the 40th year would be a big one, but it was way bigger than we anticipated! What a party!
The preparations started weeks before. The theme for the celebration was SPIRIT OF THE UNION - the official branding can be seen in the picture above. The seven founding sheikhs, leaders of the seven Emirates which came together on 2 December 1971 to form the United Arab Emirates were pictured in front of a UAE flag. The seven emirates are: Abi Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujeirah. Sheikh Zayad bin Sultan al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi were the driving force behind the unification and is still regarded as the Father of the Nation.
Shop window were made up in the national colours. Every possible product were displayed in these colours and the windows themselves were decorated.
Flags were everywhere. Houses, cars, lampposts, trees - nothing escaped a flag.
Memorabilia, decorations, souvenirs and everything else you can think of were for sale in the national colours. The children wore national colours to school, painted their faces, made up their class rooms and shared in the joy of the nation.
And the cars were something to behold! No costs were spared to 'pimp' your ride! The car pimping shops couldn't keep up!
The owner of this Smart car was so proud of his ride! When I asked him if I could photograph his car, he gave me a guided tour of all his pimps. It even has string lights in the national colours which lights up his car like a Christmas tree!
Even the Rolls Royce did not escape!
This is one of the courtesy vehicles from the Burj Al
The houses were covered in flags - some big enough to cover the whole house!
The flag below is a huge flag which hangs above Union House in Dubai, the place where the unification documents were signed 40 years ago.
In this time when the world looks on at the unrest in the Arab world, where it is obvious that many of the rulers in this part of the world are not doing what is best for their people and where people suffer at the hands of their rulers, it is a joy to see how the people of the United Arab Emirates love and adore their leaders. Sheikh Zayed is loved like a father by everybody in this country. The rulers of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and his son, the crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum are loved and respected. Because they love and respect their people.
It was an honor to be part of these celebrations.