Saudi National Day! This is the one day where Saudis of all ages will take to the streets, dress up, rejoice and celebrate! It is a day of Unity and Recognition in taking pride to be a part of Saudi’s heritage, history and culture. Saudi citizens across the world will hold special celebrations and functions in honor of National Day. Saudi National Day had not been a day officially recognized as a national holiday until King Abdullah came to reign over the Kingdom.
Saudi National Day is celebrated in many different ways. Saudi students who are outside of the Kingdom and studying abroad may have special functions and presentations at their respective universities through the Saudi students club. Saudi embassies and consulates will hold grand functions offering the best of Saudi hospitality and traditional dishes. Within the Kingdom special programs will air on Saudi Arabian Television and there will be special events for citizens across the country.
I’ve had the honor of participating in Saudi National Day celebrations around the world. During my former diplomatic career I attended the Saudi National Day celebrations in Pakistan and India. On leaving my career after marriage to my Saudi diplomatic husband, I attended the National Day celebrations as a supportive spouse. There was little difference in attending as an American diplomat or as the American wife of a Saudi diplomat. The same warm and welcoming hospitality was shown. In Saudi Arabia I felt I finally received the “insiders” view of Saudi National Day. By that time I was working as a media consultant to Saudi Arabian Television and had the honor to be one of the commentators during Saudi National Day.
I wish to share a story about the Saudi National anthem. One day I was playing around with my husband’s mobile phone. (I had a reputation for always surprising him with new ring tones) I was delighted that I had found the ring tone which played the Saudi National anthem, so without telling him, I changed his ring tone to the national anthem. Little did I expect that his first call with the new ring tone would take place when he was in a meeting with several other Saudi diplomats –and- the Imam from the Islamic Center of Washington, DC. When the anthem started playing and no one recognizing that it was coming from his mobile phone, everyone stood up in honor of the song believe it was being broadcast around the embassy. Once it was realized that it was the ring tone on my husband’s phone, everyone laughed and teased him about how patriotic he was! For those of you who may not have heard the Saudi national anthem, here it is:
National Day is also a time when countries reach out to express their felicitations. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been known for their good relations and ongoing close relationship. Saudi Arabia is a strong ally of Pakistan. In honor of this relationship and in recognition of Saudi Arabia’s National Day, Pakistan received a request in earlier days to compose a song in recognition of Saudi Arabia’s national day. Many are not aware of this event and I’d like to share this lesser known video which illustrates an unusual glimpse of the relationship.
I wish to close this post with one more song which gives a beautiful pictorial tour of Saudi Arabia while honoring the King:
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