Saudis and expatriates from all walks of life celebrated the Kingdom's National Day on Friday. Celebrations began on the eve of the National Day with many areas staging traditional folk dances and children and adults buying flags and pictures of leaders in earnest.Business in shops selling car accessories and stationery with the Saudi flag, pictures of its leaders and slogans has been booming for the past few days and it continued Friday with citizens and residents buying these accessories and joining in the celebrations.
There was a huge rush of citizens in all cities buying flags and green paint to decorate their cars for the occasion. Many citizens were in agreement that the occasion was the time to express their love for their country and loyalty to its leaders. The government has declared Saturday a public and bank holiday to enable citizens and residents to continue celebrations with their friends and relatives in the Kingdom. Ministry of Education too instructed all schools in the Kingdom closed for Saturday. The city of Riyadh was decked with flags, banners carrying slogans and digital displays conveying greetings to people on the occasion. Saudis and expatriates exchanged greetings with each other through SMS and voice calls.
The largest flag of the Kingdom was unfurled in Riyadh at 5 p.m. The largest picture of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah will be displayed Saturday. The length of the flag is 25 meters and the breadth nine meters. The picture of the king would be 30 meters long and nine meters high.
Youths were seen speeding in their vehicles shouting slogans such as "Long live King Abdullah" and "Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world." Police and Saudi Red Crescent ambulances were present at strategic locations should the the public need any help. Government organizations and private firms started celebrations Thursday. Riyadh Municipality is hosting a variety of functions and activities. The program is being carried out under the direct supervision of Mayor Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin Al-Ayyaf.
Refuting rumors, the mayor announced here Friday that all celebrations would end at midnight on Friday. The celebrations are being organized in close coordination with Riyadh Municipality, Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Ministry of Education, King Abdul Aziz Historical Center, Office of Riyadh Mayor and many private companies.
Beginning Thursday, the SCTA, held cultural shows in Diriya, opposite Prince Salman Square and King Abdul Aziz Palace in Al-Kharj. “The Arabic Tent in Diriya showcased various cultural shows,” from 4 p.m. to midnight on Thursday and Friday. Special programs were also held at the National Museum and Masmak Palace in Riyadh. Brochures describing history of the Kingdom and Saudi flags were distributed to visitors.
There were cultural shows including Ardha dance and folk dances on Thursday and Friday at Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium in Malaz. Confined to men,the show drew huge crowds. A total of 300 parks in 15 districts within Riyadh Municipality were glamorous illuminated with billboards, the king's image and the national flag. Major parks such as Al Salama at Oteiga, Manaaq Abdulaziz, near Saqr Al-Jazeera, the sprawling King Abdulaziz Historical Center on the West Ring Road and Kindi Plaza in the Diplomatic Quarter were opened to families on Thursday and Friday till midnight.
The Boy Scouts organization participated in the celebrations by cleaning the Historical Zone in Old Jeddah. The 8,000 strong scouts contingent will also paint the sidewalks and offer various services to poor residents such as repairing their electrical and sanitary connections and removing graffiti on walls and monuments. Jeddah Municipality, the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and some voluntary organizations are collaborating with the scouts in the five-day operation.