Scene from the Dibba Al Hisn National Day celebrations.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
The UAE’s 50th National Day celebrations, organised by the Sharjah National Day Celebrations Committee, continued on November 25 in Dibba Al Hisn, Al Hamriyah and Al Madam, with grand cultural shows depicting the love and pride of the homeland.
The 6-hour festivities in Dibba Al Hisn was inaugurated in the presence of Sheikh Haitham bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Deputy Head of the Ruler’s Office in Kalba City, with the launch of a hot-air balloon adorned with the image of the UAE President, against the backdrop of heritage songs that wowed residents and visitors of the city on Sharjah’s eastern coast.
Wafaa Al Ghoul, Director of the Department of Culture in Dibba Al Hisn, said: “The Union continues to grow on the path forged by the wise and visionary founding fathers of the UAE, who have spared no efforts in building a nation that is now at the forefront of many sectors worldwide.
” An operetta, written by Dr Abdul Razzaq Al Darbas, amazed the audience with its captivating words and performance that paid tribute to the achievements of the Union and eloquently depicted the initial years of the formation of the UAE in a grand theatrical presentation. Later, the attendees, together with armed forces who carried out on-stage military exercises, pledged their allegiance to the nation.
This was followed by a variety of folk performances by the Weshahat Al Harbiyah band, which resonated deeply with the large audience. Taking the crowds back to the olden days with a modern twist, Emirati composer Eman Al Hashimi and Ayman Morshid, mesmerised audiences with heritage songs played on the piano and saxophone.
In the evening, a spectacular folk performance by Russian artists - where one member of the ensemble was dressed in the colours of the UAE flag - delighted the audience. The sense of patriotism, pride, and allegiance were heightened with the rendition of poems celebrating the Union, the Founding Fathers and the journey of the nation.
Poems were recited by Ali Al Shuwain and Said Al Khashri. Meanwhile, the western coastal town of Al Hamriyah marked the Year of the 50th National Day celebrations with a national parade. The heritage village of Al Hamriyah also brought Emirati maritime traditions to life through a broad range of activities, including workshops and games, for all age groups.
Visitors and residents also participated in traditional crafts workshops and enjoyed traditional delicacies served by participating food stalls. Al Madam city, in the central region of the Emirate, kicked off its celebrations with a vibrant programme of musical shows and poetry sessions with prominent artists and classical Arabic poets in attendance.
The Sharjah National Day Celebrations Committee organised a series of competitions, including the ‘How do you envision Al Madam after 50 years?’ video clip competition, that enabled the audience to compete and receive valuable prizes. Meanwhile, Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah’s Department of Government Relations (DGR), recently met Nathalie Kennedy, Consul General of the French Republic in Dubai, to explore ways to strengthen collaboration between Sharjah and French cities, particularly in cultural tourism and the creative industries.
The meeting, held in Sharjah’s House of Wisdom, also witnessed the participation of Marie-Laure Charrier, Deputy Consul General of the French Republic in Dubai. Sheikh Fahim accompanied the officials on a tour of the House of Wisdom, an iconic cultural edifice and a modern-day interpretation of a social hub and cultural centre for collective learning, which has been built as a lasting legacy of Sharjah’s nomination as the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2019. The DGR Chairman said: “Strengthening cultural relationships between Sharjah and cities around the world that champion knowledge and creativity, form the basis of the Emirate’s efforts towards achieving the goals of its cultural project.
“France’s pioneering experience in supporting the development of art, literature and culture is exemplary, and we are keen on exploring potential opportunities with French cities that will lead us to fruitful and mutually beneficial collaborations in a variety of sectors, particularly cultural tourism and the creative industries.”
On her part, Kennedy praised Sharjah’s vibrant cultural project, and the Emirate’s quest to promote public libraries and support creative talents and artists in the UAE and beyond, through key collaborations with cultural entities dedicated to nurturing their skills and connecting them with their global peers.
She also noted that Sharjah is a pioneering cultural tourism destination and leading hub for investment in creative industries. As part of her official visit, the French Consul General also toured a selection of Sharjah’s artistic attractions, including the unique Rain Room, which has been brought by the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) to the Middle East for the first time in Sharjah’s Al Majarrah area and the historic Al Mureijah Square — one of SAF’s principal venues where community interacts with art. She also met Sheikha Nawar Al Qasimi, Director of SAF, and visited the exhibitions currently taking place there. She was briefed about the Foundation’s projects and initiatives to promote contemporary arts.
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