Saudi Arabia brings new experiences to Tourism Expo in Japan – 71Bait

JEDDAH/RIYADH: As the sun set on Friday night, people gathered on the Jeddah Art Promenade to enjoy the Saudi National Day celebrations.

The nation’s dark green and white flag was flying everywhere, and many children were dressed appropriately. Some women wore crystals on their faces while others dressed in abayas to complement the theme. Men wore wigs and flags.

As the sun went down and the city cooled, a parade began, the start of which was heralded by distant drumming urging visitors to stand.

People enjoy during an event on the Jeddah Art Promenade. (AN photo)

The small band parading along the Jeddah Waterfront was mostly dressed in white. Graceful dancers led the way, followed by drummers who helped raise the spirits of the people. In the center was a man walking on stilts and wearing the classic Saudi dress of thobe and headscarf or ‘igaal’.

“It always instills a sense of patriotism when I attend events like this that are held on the national day,” Mariam Mohammad, 24, told Arab News.

“I dragged my family out of the house today. The crowds and traffic slowed her down, but we only get to party one night a year and I didn’t want to miss it,” she said.

Aitzaz Zayn, a Pakistani expat living in Jeddah, said: “I’m not from Saudi Arabia, but I still like going out and attending the celebrations. There is something very beautiful when people come together and celebrate their country.”

The Jeddah parade was just one of many events that took place throughout the day.

military parade

The Royal Saudi Navy parade took place on Jeddah’s Corniche on Friday and large crowds gathered to cheer them on as part of celebrations of the 92nd Saudi National Day.

The fun started with an HZ-MS16 helicopter flying over the waterfront while viewers were told all about it through commentary played over loudspeakers.

Saudi security forces hold a military parade to mark Saudi National Day. (SPA)

One of the Royal Navy’s most powerful aircraft, the helicopter was designed for use in search and rescue operations and with anti-submarine capabilities.

A number of ships designed for surveillance, search and rescue, and relief operations were also located on shore for people to see.

Salha Al-Shamrani and her daughter Hind attended the show together and were amazed by what they saw.

“It was such an interesting National Day event this year,” Al-Shamrani told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia celebrates the 92nd National Day with a massive air show. (SPA)

“We learned so much from the live audio and looking at the tanks and boats. The children also learned a lot.

“There is nothing better than the Saudi Royal Navy. My husband is an instructor there, so we’re familiar with conducting rescue operations,” she added.

Hind also found the event informative.

“It was such a beautiful and rich participation, where I learned so much. The parade was also a lot of fun,” she said.

“We saw the ships, the tanks, the submarines and things like that. I got to know their types and what they are used for.”

joy in the park

A spectacular array of activities will be on offer at Prince Majid Park in Jeddah to celebrate Saudi National Day.

The fun began on Wednesday and will continue through Saturday, with visitors invited to a variety of family and community events to celebrate the culture and diversity of the kingdom. These include folk dances, amazing walking performances, a musical fountain show, heritage-focused trade and craft stalls, and plenty of delicious food.

People enjoy during an event on the Jeddah Art Promenade. (AN photo)

Amr Ayamani, Deputy Site Manager, said: “We are trying to improve the National Day experience for everyone over the weekend. Our goal is to give visitors enough joy and excitement to be mesmerized by the attractions and the musical fountain that plays every 30 minutes.

“The stage performances will also reflect the rich history and captivate audiences with a memorable performance that focuses on diversity and togetherness,” he added.

“This year we want to mark our national journey by acknowledging our past, rejoicing in the present and looking positively towards our future together.”

Alexia Tashbaeva, coach of the Saudi Arabian Tennis Federation, attended the celebrations.

During the celebrations of Saudi National Day, youth can learn and get closer to their heritage and culture. (AN photo)

“We are here in the park so that children can discover the sport. In this way we encourage younger generations to come and play with us,” she said.

“As expats, these festivals show the strength of unity and provide an opportunity to bring people together to share our love of sport with the locals.”

Saeed Baqar, a flute player, said: “The celebration of this special national occasion is a validation of our role as inspirational and creative artists in presenting traditional Saudi music in a contemporary way.”

Tickets to the event cost SR 30 ($8) and visitors can also pick up National Day memorabilia and dine at the food stalls.

Family fun in Riyadh

Grassy Park in Riyadh’s diplomatic district hosted a host of National Day activities on Friday, including horse shows, carnival games and giveaways.

Nabil Cho, a South Korean working in the kingdom, was one of those who enjoyed all the fun on offer.

“I never expected such an event to take place on a national holiday,” he told Arab News. “This is my first visit here and I’m really excited and really enjoying my time here. It’s beautiful, it’s wonderful.”

People gathered in Majid Park in Jeddah during celebrations of Saudi National Day. (AN photo)

Cho said he heard about the National Day celebrations online and invited some of his South Korean friends and colleagues to join him.

Olivier Pierre, a tourist from France, was at Grassy Park with his wife and friends.

“I find this event very interesting because I am just discovering Saudi culture. Today is National Day and I’m very interested in learning more about the cultural dances and music, so I’m here and it exceeded my expectations,” he said.

“My wife is also very interested in discovering Saudi culture. She discovered this place in Saudi group event chats.”

Alongside the action-packed activities, food stalls and boutiques offered traditional dishes and products to visitors, many of whom were dressed for the occasion.

All activities at Grassy Park are open to the public on Saturday from 5pm to midnight.

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