November Is Punctuated By Which Two Holidays?
Updated on 05 November 2018

By: Salamah Ghudayer for SMCCU

Though December 2 is the UAE’s National Day, November brings an energy of patriotism, since the advent of Flag Day and Martyrs Day. Both special days are relatively new compared to other holidays and bring with them a renewed spirit and reminder of our resilience and unity as a nation.

Always within the first week of November and in this year on November 1, the UAE celebrates Flag Day. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, decreed Flag Day as a national initiative for the commemoration of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan’s rise to the position of President of the United Arab Emirates. Fresh, bright flags of Red, Green, White & Black rise proudly over buildings, houses, and bridges in the morning with an organised time across the nation. With the spirit of the Emirates though, cars, children’s cheeks, badges and scarves are also not safe from being swathed in the four national colours. The city sophistication is abandoned in ways for a months’ time, culminating on National Day. Even the most elegant of cars become wrapped in childhood fantasies of national heroes and patriotism from the little boys who have become men. It is a fun time, this space between Flag Day and National Day. The weather cools. People are enjoying the outdoors. Yet, this strength in unity, security and governance has not come without an immeasurable price.

Martyrs Day was first observed in the Emirates in 2015 on November 30, after a decree from the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Much like a Commemoration Day or Memorial Day in other nations, it is an observance for the souls lost while protecting others and lost for the greater good. The holiday was initiated the year of a fierce loss to the Emirati population. It was September 4, 2015 in which an attack on a weapons depot killed 45 Emirati soldiers in Yemen. Though war is not unknown to Emirati families and tribes, that was a day that felt like a hit to all residing here. Forty-five families lost a beloved which leaves an incomparable gap in hope, heart and their family’s future. It is not always in war though that one gives their life for the sake of the many. Jasim Al Beloushi was a firefighter, who died making sure the entire crew and every passenger got out of a plane which had caught fire upon landing in 2016. There are countless others though, From modern times through to the past. Many families in tribal areas such as these have been touched by someone who was lost as a hero. A martyr who gave their life for the greater good.

A true martyr is an honour in any culture. It is one who absolutely does not hope to die. That type of hoping in itself is forbidden in Islam. Bravery. Honour. Heroism. These are attributes of someone who hopes to live and strive for goodness day after day. They go into a situation to do the right thing and hope to return and do so again and again. Yet to die doing so; for a soul of that strength to be taken, is such a loss to the whole world, that they are a martyr. Then there is their special family, who had lived around such a strong person that no doubt the world stopped spinning for a while. Those family members are so special while alive; born leaders, much like an axis to a unit bound by life that some continue in that role even in death. It is their funerals which are to be a quiet celebration of their life and remembrance of their attributes.

The United Arab Emirates welcomes all. If you are here, by chance or choice this special time is for your celebration to. Come out and celebrate. Help and assist those who have made this nation secure and comfortable. Raise the flag we are living under together. You are welcome here.

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