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49th UAE National Day Events in Abu Dhabi

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner

Looking to visit Abu Dhabi over the National Day weekend in early December?

It is an amazing time to be in Abu Dhabi. Not only are you almost guaranteed beautiful mild weather in early December, but there is also always so much going on!

National Day is celebrated on 2 December to mark the day the country of the United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971 under a Federal Constitutional Monarchy.

You can learn more about the recent history of the 7 Emirates of the United Arab Emirates here.

In 2019, the UAE Government also announced that Commemoration Day (previously known as Martyrs Day) had been moved to 1 December to coincide with National Day Celebrations on 2 & 3 December.  Most UAE residents are granted a 5 day weekend to celebrate.

In December 2020 Abu Dhabi residents will enjoy a 5 day weekend from 1 December to 5 December.

Please click here to see entry requirements if travelling to Abu Dhabi from overseas at this time.

Abu Dhabi National Day Events in 2020

Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, there will be a different approach to National Day celebrations in 2020 to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

Virtual celebration of National Day in Abu Dhabi

The main event for 2020 “Seeds of the Union Show” will be a live event, televised across the UAE and beyond on 2 December 2020.

 The show will pay a moving tribute to the UAE’s Founding Fathers, whose long-term vision of harmony and solidarity led to the formal unification of the UAE in 1971.

The production was designed by a team of Emiratis and artistic director Es Devlin, known for creating large-scale performative sculptures and environments that fuse music, language and light. She designed the closing ceremony for the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

You can tune into the live stream at (We understand the main event will start from 6.15 PM)

Qasr Al Watan

The usual evening Palace in Motion Sound and Light Show will be preceded by a patriotic projection of the UAE flag alongside a rousing rendition of the UAE National Anthem on 1 and 2 December 2020 (approx 7:15 pm).

The Palace is open daily from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm over the National Day long weekend. NB – if you have purchases tickets during the day to visit Qasr al Watan you can return in the evening for the show.

Learn more at

Al Fursan Air Show

The Abu Dhabi National Day traditional air show by the Al Fursan aerobatics team will be back from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm along the Abu Dhabi Corniche on 2 December 2020. TBC

Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival – Al Wathba

National Day celebrations including all districts and exhibitions around the festival, fireworks shows, local and international music.

The Festival opens from 4:00 pm daily (from 10:00 am over the National Day long weekend), with we understand a fireworks display due to be held at 9:00 PM on the evening of 2 December, this will be live streamed as part of the virtual celebration.

Learn more at

If you will be travelling to Dubai over the long weekend, please see this guide to Dubai National Day events in 2020.

National Day Fireworks in Abu Dhabi

Rather last minute, we can now confirm that there will be fireworks taking place on National Day, however residents are asked to wath virtually to prevent gathering in public spaces.

We also understand fireworks will go ahead on Yas Island on Wednesday, 2 December at 9:00 PM.

Abu Dhabi Discounts for National Day

As is usual at this time of year, many businesses and attractions offer great discounts in celebration of the nations birthday. Some great deals to look out for National Day 49:

Yas Theme Parks 49% off 2 day-2-park passes

The two-day, two-park sale gives you the opportunity to see both Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and your choice of Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi or Yas Waterworld for just 220 AED per person. Purchase from 26 November to 2 December and book your two trips up to 25 December 2020.

You can learn more about the Yas Theme Parks sale here

Intercontinental Hotel save 49%

Get 49% off your third night when booking a 3-day staycation. Starting from 549 AED for two per night including breakfast – or a lunch and dinner inclusive package from 949 AED.

Learn more at 

Other things to know about the National Day Holidays in Abu Dhabi

  • Schools, Government offices and most businesses will have 3 days off to celebrate this special occasion – visitors should be mindful of this if they need any sort of visa processing etc.
  • If you have a car, public parking is free! (but be mindful everywhere can be INCREDIBLY busy!) Take public transport if you can – we suspect this will not be the case in 2020 due to the restrictions on group gatherings.
  • Want to get dressed up?  Go for it!  Traditional dress of the colours of the UAE flag, locals and residents alike wear the UAE’s colours of red, green, white and black with pride, you should feel free to do the same.

Find out more about what’s going on in Abu Dhabi this December here

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