UAE Flag Day Celebration 2023

Citizens, residents and visitors raise the flag with pride
UAE Flag Day Celebration 2023
Though not a public holiday, Flag Day was celebrated widely across the UAE

Today marks an important moment for the UAE as the nation celebrates Flag Day. This is the 11th anniversary of this occasion that pays tribute to the meaning and importance of the UAE Flag. Leading the celebration are UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

What is UAE Flag Day?

uae flag day

The UAE Flag Day celebrates the accession of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as the president of the UAE in 2004. The first flag day celebration took place in 2013, on the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

When is UAE Flag Day?

The UAE Flag Day celebrations fall on November 3. Emiratis celebrate it every year.

What happens on UAE Flag Day?

Public and private sector companies organize flag-raising ceremonies throughout the emirates in the morning to celebrate the event. Though not a public holiday, government ministries and private companies across the UAE celebrate Flag Day proudly and committedly.

uae flag day

In a post on social platform X, Sheikh Mohammed encouraged everyone to mark the occasion. His post read, “We call on our citizens, organizations, and ministries to hoist the flag simultaneously on November 3 at 11:00 am to express the unity of our home and our destiny.”

Read: Trade and Economic Partnerships: UAE’s Role in the Global Economy

UAE flag design and meanings

A then young Emirati, Abdullah Al Maainah, won a UAE flag design competition in 1971. He got his inspiration from the poems of Safi-u-ddin Al Hali.

The four colors that Al Maainah used – black, green, red and white, represented Arab unity. It was around this time that the UAE federation was established, forming a union of the seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain.

Al Maainah would later become the minister of foreign affairs.

The flag consists of three horizontal bands of green, white and black, with a vertical strip of red.

Each color represents a different attribute or quality. Red is for courage; green for hope; white for honesty and black for strength.

Flag similarities and differences

Interestingly many Arab nations have the same colors on their flags. According to historians, these four colors each represent a different period of Arab history. Black was allegedly used by the Rashidun and Abbasid caliphates. White was associated with the Umayyads. Green was symbolic of the Fatimids and the Rashidun successors of the Prophet Mohammed. Lastly, red was more identified with the Hashemite dynasty.

Some experts say the similarities in colors subtly communicate an underlying connection, a brotherhood of nations in the Arab region.

UAE flag day

For example, the flags of the Gulf states UAE and Kuwait share the same colors. However, Kuwait uses black for the shape close to the mast; for its horizontal colors, it has green on top, followed by white and then red.

The flags of the UAE and Jordan also use similar colors. However, they have the reverse order for the horizontal black and green. And while the UAE has a red vertical strip, Jordan has a red triangle close to the mast with a white chevron.

Meanwhile, the flags of the UAE and Palestine also have the same colors. The difference is that the UAE has a vertical red strip, while Palestine’s red color has a triangular shape. The horizontal colors of black and green are in reverse order.

Another country with an almost similar flag to the UAE is Sudan. With the latter’s flag, however, the order of the horizontal colors are red, white and black. It uses green for the triangular shape close to the mast.

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