From 3 November to 4 December, we’re commemorating the UAE’s landmark 50th anniversary with a special set of activities and festivities that look at the nation’s journey since 1971 and what’s to come in the next 50 years!
On the eve of the UAE’s National Day and Golden Jubilee, the world came together tonight (1 December) at Expo 2020 Dubai to commemorate 50 years since the nation’s formation in 1971.
With Expo 2020 Dubai coinciding with this incredible moment in the UAE’s history, Expo’s Al Wasl Plaza proved a fitting – and spectacular – platform to reflect on the nation’s journey, with a stirring show that skilfully melded the tenacity of the past with its visionary present and pioneering future.
As declared by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the year 2021 will be known as ‘The Year of the 50th’, with Expo 2020’s ‘Journey of the 50th’ taking a step back in time to demonstrate how far the country has come, then teleporting the audience into the future to glimpse the UAE’s ambitions and aspirations.
Tareq Ghosheh, Chief Events and Entertainment Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “As the UAE marks 50 years since its epochal unification, and Expo 2020 embarks on a long weekend of celebrations to honour the occasion, we are proud to present ‘Journey of the 50th’ to UAE nationals, residents and the rest of the world. Despite being a young nation, the UAE is a world leader in so many fields, and our Golden Jubilee spectacle gives an insight into the nation’s journey to greatness, while underscoring how upbeat we are about its bright future.
“The show was created in line with the spirit of Al Wasl Plaza, utilising new technology and production tricks to create moments that will be engraved in people’s minds and hearts for years to come.”
Holding fast on to the timeless values that continue to carry the nation forward, throughout the ceremony the country’s relationship with nature manifested itself through the reoccurring themes of land, sea, wind and sky, which respectively embody the principles of resilience, connection, tolerance and drive.
Through the wisdom of Umm Khalifa, who represents the knowledge of the past, her zealous granddaughter Al Reem – signifying the promise of tomorrow – learns that by deepening her connection to her roots, she will be equipped to fly towards the future.
Indeed, a highlight of proceedings proved to be a larger-than-life falcon – a potent symbol of the nation’s strength and heritage – which took flight with Al Reem perched atop its streamlined body.
From dizzying heights, to the depths of the ocean, the stage transformed into an ocean of blues, with a pearl diver – denoting the country’s humble origins – emerging with a large shiny pearl in his outstretched hand. As he soared upwards, the thunderous roar of a space shuttle marked the arrival of an astronaut floating into the cosmos and spacewalking to the top of Al Wasl’s steel trellis. He too had his arms stretched before him – in essence, they are the same; all that separates them is time.
A choir of children from schools around the UAE were joined by an orchestra and the entire cast for a stirring performance of the UAE National Anthem, as flag bearers from participating countries entered the plaza in a moment of unity – with Expo 2020 a symbol of the progress the UAE has made as a global connector.
With a rousing rendition of Ya Hayaha – a culturally significant song that was played during the UAE’s Silver Jubilee on 2 December, 1996, and on the occasion of the 30th year of the UAE’s Founding Father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as ruler of Abu Dhabi – the concert culminated on an optimistic, and suitably patriotic, note.