This article has been reviewed by Wego‘s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.
Updated February 2023
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will celebrate the 93rd iteration of its National Day on 23 September 2023. The National Day commemorates the unification of the various Bedouin tribes, sultanates, minor kingdoms and emirates across a large area of the Arabian Peninsula stretching from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf.
In the year 1932, the land was finally unified under the banner of Abdul Al-Aziz ibn Saud, the founding father of Saudi Arabia, who then proceeded to assume the mantle of the Kingdom’s first king as well as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
Although steeped in history, National Day has only been officially recognized as a national holiday to be celebrated in a festive manner since the year 2005. Previously, only religious holidays were celebrated in Saudi Arabia, namely the Eid al-Fitr and the Eid al-Adha.
That said, let us take a closer look at how the Kingdom and its people celebrate this highly significant commemoration.
Saudi National Day 2023 date
Every year, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates its National Day on 23 September. In 2023, 23 September falls on a Saturday.
Saudi National Day 2023 identity
The Saudi National Day identity for the year 2023 has not been announced yet.
However, previously, for the 92nd National Day, Saudi Arabia unveiled the identity called ‘This is our Home’. The identity was launched in line with the projects of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and also reflected the role of the National Day in instilling Saudi cultural values in the hearts of generations, celebrating the projects of the wise vision, as well as belonging to a great entity with its determination.
The Saudi flag and symbolism
The colour green is a recurring theme in National Day, as it is the dominant colour of the Saudi Arabian flag. The Saudi flag features white calligraphy set on a green backdrop that reads, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God,” which is essentially the profession of faith that every Muslim utters as they perform their daily prayers.
Just under the inscription, a sword is depicted, which symbolizes King Abdul Aziz, the first sovereign of the Kingdom. The flag’s primary colour is also a symbol of Islam and is believed to be the favoured colour of the Prophet Muhammad.
As with many other flags around the world, the Saudi Arabian flag represents the kingdom’s rich history, lofty philosophical ideas, as well as national pride and identity. On National Day, you’ll find no shortage of people wearing green and taking pride in their heritage as countless green flags are waving in the wind.
Holidays, festivities and celebrations for the Saudi National Day 2023
The holidays, festivities and celebrations for the 93rd Saudi National Day are yet to be announced. However, to give you a glimpse of how the celebrations and festivities look on a National Day, given below are some of the celebrations that took place for the Saudi National Day in the year 2022:
Last year’s holidays, festivities and celebrations
Saudi citizens look forward to National Day as it presents the opportunity to take some time off from work and get together with friends or family on a two-day (or more) public holiday.
Events such as light shows and cultural exhibits are held in the country’s capital during the commemoration. With malls, hotels, restaurants and just about every other establishment readily offering special deals and discounts on their services and products, many Saudis understandably regard the National Day as a truly special occasion.
Furthermore, due to its significance, the National Day has also traditionally been regarded as the day of choice for the Saudi Government to make ground-breaking inaugurations and announcements.
For the year 2022, the Board of Directors of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) organized a grand nine-day celebration with the slogan “It Is Our Home” until September 26 for National Day. Below are the details of the events and celebrations:
34 Air Shows
The Royal Saudi Air Force had put on air shows in 14 cities over the period of ten days using Typhoon, F-15S, Tornado, and F-15C planes.
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces Command also took part in a national parade that featured military trucks, a motorbike squad, and a horsemen’s show, as well as a naval show that showcased the newest marine machinery, boats from the Naval Special Security Group (NSSG), and at last, an aerobatic parade by helicopters.
The 13 cities of the Kingdom, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Al-Khobar, Dammam, Jubail, Al-Ahsa, Taif, Tabuk, and Abha, as well as Sarat Ubaidah, Tamniyah, Khamis Mushait, and Al-Baha, hosted the National Day air shows.
Circus show from Cirque du Soleil
The four-day event, titled “The Wealth of a Nation,” commenced at the Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University theatre in Riyadh on 21 September and continued until 24 September, featuring outstanding performances created especially for this year’s National Day.
In order to tell the tale of the rich national identity of the Kingdom, its people, its principles, and its future prospects, Cirque du Soleil, which had been running for seven months, intertwined an amazing artistic and surreal piece of art in a world where the impossibility becomes possible, where gravity-defying stunts and striking performances were previewed for the very first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
National Operetta in Madinah
The National Operetta, which also will tell the story of Saudi Arabia throughout its history using magnificent technologies showcasing inventive folkloric paintings and the opening of the historical showcase to further highlight Saudi Arabia’s heritage, was held at Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Sports City in Madinah.
On September 23, the operetta featured more than 200 performers and exhibitors who took part in a variety of folkloric performances complemented by sound effects.
Performers Nayef Al-Badhe and Ibrahim Al-Hakami also performed in National Operetta. A historical exhibition detailing the history of Saudi Arabia and its areas was presented in combination with the opera.
There was a range of musical performances in the five core cities of Riyadh, Abha, Al-Qassim, Jeddah, and Al-Ahsa. The events also featured performances by well-known musicians from the Middle East and North Africa, including Mohammed Abdu, Abadi Al-Johar, Rabeh Saqer, Majed Al-Muhandis, Ahlam, Angham, and Ahmed Saad.
There were spectacular fireworks displays in over 18 cities in different parts of Saudi Arabia. On Friday, September 23, 2022, at 9:00 p.m., fireworks were set off concurrently in 18 cities, illuminating the sky of the Kingdom in green and white.
As all citizens were able to view the fireworks shows and join the times of celebration and happiness in commemoration of the National Day, the shows created an artistic landscape portraying the national identity at a height of up to 300 meters.
Al-Thaghr Plaza in Riyadh, King Abdullah National Park in Buraidah, Northern Khobar Corniche and Dammam Corniche, Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Sports City in Madinah, Sama Abha Park, and Prince Hussam Park in Al Baha are just a few of the locations where spectators watched the mind-boggling fireworks.
Along with the gardens of Burj Arar, fireworks also lit up the skies over the North Corniche in Jazan, the Al-Nahda neighbourhood in Najran, the Al-Mughwah Park in Hail, and other nearby locations.
More entertainment festivals
From September 21 to September 24, the regions of the Kingdom held 12 entertainment festivities over the length of four days, forming large, merry carnivals that honour the history and real national heritage of the Kingdom.
In addition to folkloric and kinematic activities, the festivals feature interactive platforms outfitted with the most recent lighting and audio equipment to honour the Kingdom’s history through performances drawn from the traditions of each region.
Four players of the violin, flute, lute, and qanun instruments will delight the guests with the melodies of the national hymns. Eight publicly accessible games merge entertainment with national projects at the festival venues.
Riyadh Front also featured a live orchestra and 12 interactive pavilions under the slogan “The Pride of The Nation”. Riyadh’s shopping centres were decorated with flags, balloons and artwork released by the entertainment authority on the occasion of National Day.