UAE National day, Flag day, and Commemoration day. Dates and Holidays 2020

2 years ago

UAE National day, Flag day, and Commemoration day. Dates and Holidays 2020

National events are one great celebration which not only comes with an off day as a bonus to workers but has great historical importance attached to it which talks more about the history of the federation. These events remind the people of their core values and what they stand for as a nation. This piece talks about national events celebrated in the United Arab Emirates. Here we will focus on three main events that are keen to the heart of the Emiratis (Flag day, Commemoration day, and National day). We will briefly talk about what these days represent, the dates they are celebrated, and how they are celebrated. Also, we will talk about a change in date as it affects these events and the holidays attached to it, is it only declared for public sectors in the country? All these will be touched briefly without many stories, Make sure to follow on. 

UAE Flag Day (3rd November)

The flag day is usually marked annually on the 3rd of November, it is used to mark the anniversary of the president, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan when he became the president if the country in 2004. The nation’s flag represents justice, peace, tolerance, power, and moderation. 

How the flag day is marked

On this day, the UAE flag is hosted ceremonially in schools, all government departments, and buildings across the Emirates. The flag is seen flattering from windows, rooftops, and flag posts, they raise the UAE flag to renew their dedication, love, and allegiance and also show their solidarity with the union established by the country’s founding fathers. It is not only celebrated by the nationals, but the expats also join in raising the flag to show their love for the union. The people are enjoined to abide by the flag laws while hosting it.

UAE Commemoration Day (30th November)

Commemoration day otherwise known as Martyr’s day is an annual event marked on the 30th of November. The day is dedicated to honor and express its appreciation to the sacrifices of the Emirati martyrs who laid down their lives for the progress of the nation in the field of civil, military, and humanitarian services.

The date correlates with the day the first martyr of the nation (Salem Suhail ibn Khamis) was killed. He was killed on the 30th of November 1971 during an invasion by the Iranian forces, shortly before the UAE’s formation. The martyr’s day was declared in 2015 and has since then become an annual event. The celebration is held by ministries and institutions across the country.

The day is not just about an off day at work which is a bonus, but it is very important to remember what the occasion signifies. It is a time to remind all the families of the martyrs that the sacrifices of their loved ones are never forgotten. Residents and citizens are reminded to be respectful on this day. 

How the commemoration day is marked

National ceremonies will be held by ministries and institutions across the country to mark the occasion of the day. 

At 8 am, the UAE flag will be raised at half-mast across the country and will remain like that till 11:30 am. It will then be followed by a One minute’s silence, thereafter, it will be raised while the national anthem is being played to honor Emiratis who have laid down their lives discharging their duties to their father’s land. This is the routine yearly. Though due to a few reasons, the date is not always constant, I’ll make sure to include the dates announced by the government in this piece. 

UAE National Day (2nd December) 

UAE national day is marked to represent the Unification of the Seven Emirates that make up the UAE. On 2nd December 1971, the federation “United Arab Emirates” was formed as a union consisting of 6 emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, and Umm Al-Quwain). The 7th (Ras Al-Khaimah) joined in Feb 1972. Ever since then, the date has been celebrated yearly across the Gulf nation in a spirit of joyful festivity, it is a time when locals and expatriates come together to celebrate.

How the national day is marked

A public holiday is declared in schools and workplaces. The colors of the national flag are everywhere (streets, homes, cars). Shades of red, green, white, and black adorn every aspect of the nation, and flags are seen fluttering in various landmarks across the nation. Being a public holiday, it brings families and friends together in celebration.  

Officially, it is celebrated annually at Zayed Sports city in the nation’s capital (Abu Dhabi). It is a powerful show with rousing performances, aerobatic displays, and Inspirational speeches; all permeated with a sense of national pride and courage. Asides the official celebration at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, there’s always more excitement in store at different fun terminals throughout the nation, Each Emirate is filled with fun activities ranging from fireworks displays, to live music, car racing, and a funfair for kids. Burj Khalifa usually has an impressive LED show inspired by the UAE flag. Trust me, the fun is worthwhile. 

Will the UAE government declare a holiday to mark commemoration day this year (2020)?

Definitely yes, but this time it will be marked on the 1st of December, 2020. As mentioned earlier in this piece, sometimes the dates are changed to either come earlier or later depending on the situation. Then a further two days off will also follow on the 2nd and 3rd December 2020 to mark the UAE’s National Day, making up a 3-day consecutive off. 

Will the Holidays be observed by the Private sectors? 

In 2019, the UAE cabinet announced that the official holidays will be granted for the same leave days in both the Public and Private sectors. So this year should not be an exception.

In conclusion;

The three events (flag day, commemoration day, and National day) are very important events that remind the United Arab Emirates nationals who they are. One thing which is common to these three events is that they primarily renew the people’s pledge and dedication to their fatherland. The Emiratis value and respect their flag so much to heart that they make sure to abide by the rules attached to it, they also make sure to be actively involved in these events as it reminds them of their core values as Emiratis. 

Meanwhile, the country also has some other events it celebrates. However this does not mean all other events are somewhat insignificant as we didn’t elaborate on them here, they are also important, the only difference is they are either religious events or seasonal events as the case may be. Some of these events have fixed dates on d gregorian calendar while some don’t, some that have fixed dates on the gregorian calendar is sometimes changed due to one reason or another (for example; Flag day and Commemoration day), So they are celebrated Earlier or later than the fixed dates, that depends on the government’s decision

To wrap it all up, I’ll quickly present the list of events celebrated in the UAE with the dates they are celebrated. 

Below is a list of public holidays in the UAE for the year 2020

Wednesday, January 01New Year’s day
Sunday,  May 24Eid al-Fitr
Monday, May 25Eid al Fitr Holiday
Tuesday, May 26Eid al-Fitr Holiday
Thursday, July 30Arafat day
Friday, July 31Eid al-Adha
Saturday, August 01Eid al-Adha Holiday
Sunday, August 02Eid al-Adha Holiday
Thursday, August 20New Hijri year
Thursday, October 29Maulud Nabiy (Tentative date)
Tuesday, December 1Commemoration day
Wednesday, December 2National day celebration
Thursday, December 3National day Holiday


This is for the year 2020, we will make sure to update it as the year runs out. All dates on the table above are declared as National holidays in the UAE and are to be observed by both public and private sectors in the country. For the rest of the year, the UAE has four more national holidays; October 9th to mark Maulud nabiy, followed by three consecutive days; December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.