As the UAE gears up to mark its 51st National Day next month, with 9 days of celebrations across the country, residents are leaving no stone unturned to join in on the party.
By mid-November every year, ahead of the grand show on December 2, citizens and expats start the fanfare by embracing the four colours of the national flag – black, red, green, and white. These colours adorn vehicles, offices, schools, and even skyscrapers are draped with massive flags to match the fervour of the occasion.
Over 200 types of items become available in markets across the country, sporting the iconic colours. These include: boxes, bags, hair clips, badges, caps, t-shirts, dresses, stationery, coffee mugs, jackets, ribbons, pens, balloon arches, gift boxes, dancing canes, scarves, shawls, gift tags, face paint, marker pens, umbrellas, and bunting.
Abdul Badi, a vendor at the old souk in Deira said that residents and citizens come to them looking for a particular item with the colours of the National Flag and, surprisingly, it’s all available. “We have a lot of stationery in the four colours and as November approaches, a high demand from the schools around the country is recorded,” said Badi.
“Similarly, we have a heavy influx of orders from offices for gift boxes, coffee mugs, writing pads, badges, pens, pencils, and even flags of small size,” added Abdul Badi.
Flags in the souk are sold in dozens. Prices range from Dh10 to Dh2,400 depending on the size. However, flags of over 15 meters in length and 3 meters in breadth are customized based on the customer’s needs.
Yaseen Attari, proprietor, of Mperial Work Wear undertakes customized orders for flags of large size, dresses, t-shirts, scarfs, and shawls. “Vertical flags over 15 meters in length are for buildings and we even undertake flags of nearly 100 metres in length which costs Dh2,400,” said Attari.
Attari’s manufacturing units produce hundreds of flags a day of various sizes. “We manufacture in bulk quantities and post-November 20, we can see the markets are thronged by the residents to get flags for their homes and offices,” said Attari.
Attari said that there is a huge demand for ladies’ dresses and t-shirts featuring the four colours of the flag which starts at Dh60 per piece.
However, according to manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers, the most in-demand item is the new shawl, designed in different patterns, with prints of quotes, rulers’ photos, and flag colours.
“These shawls are a preferred accessory by many residents these days and can be found around the neck of Emiratis and the expat community as it enhances the outlook in work wear or even in parties,” said Syed Nasikh, sales and marketing manager at NFN General Trading LLC, a firm that designs these accessories.
Nasikh also mentioned that accessories, like badges and shawls, with the number ’51’ mentioned, are also in great demand. “This is the 51st National Day of UAE and we have recorded high demand anything with number 51,” added Nasikh.