This year’s festival focuses on the UAE as a crossroads of civilisations and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
The event also draws support and guidance from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Affairs Office.
Named after founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the annual festival celebrates his commitment to preserving the UAE’s rich heritage and history. Today, that recognition comes with the UAE’s modern identity as a gateway to the future.
The festival offers an enriching experience that combines authentic Emirati culture with the diversity of world heritage. Visitors can see an array of neighbourhood displays showing the daily lives of the world’s ancient civilisations. Innovative exhibitions and interactive performances feature traditional cuisine and heritage from everywhere, along with global folk performances and dazzling fireworks at night.
Following its December 1 launch, the festival will kick off National Day with performances from prominent Emirati artists. Days later on December 4, tribes from across the emirates will gather for the Union March, celebrating the diversity found across the emirates.
Meanwhile, the Dancing Fountain presents a new element to the festival. Visitors will be delighted by water shows programmed to the beat of patriotic songs as well as poems written by the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed.
Organisers said that the festival invokes immense pride of Emirati heritage, and in its diversity of citizens and residents. The festival focuses on both national and world history, aiming to encourage young generations to explore their own heritage .
To drive this message home, this year’s festival features 17 countries to present their own heritage, spanning cuisine, traditional crafts and musical performances. The festival offers a wide range of events that embody the UAE’s great legacy. Events this year include a number of competitions.
Meanwhile, the Memory of a Nation Exhibition offers glimpses of the life and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, with never-before-seen documents illuminating the innovative process of the UAE’s early formation.
The UAE District offers a range of traditional events evoking the country’s past customs and folklore, with local products displayed in participating shops. The UAE Traditional Crafts Area is like a living museum of the old UAE, featuring stories from four unique environments.