At 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 3, citizens and residents of the United Arab Emirates will mark Flag Day.
This will be the tenth year in which the annual celebration will take place.
But what is Flag Day and how did it start? And what rules exist around the UAE flag?
The National Explain.
What is Flag Day?
Flag Day was first celebrated in 2013.
The idea was conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to celebrate Sheikh Khalifa’s assumption of the presidency of the United Arab Emirates in 2004.
She is commemorated every year on her birthday, November 3. It’s not a public holiday.
Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the ruler of Dubai, recently tweeted urging citizens, businesses and government departments to mark the occasion.
“We call on our citizens, organizations and ministries to raise the flag simultaneously on November 3 at 11:00 a.m. to express the unity of our house and our destiny,” he wrote.
How to fly the UAE flag
The United Arab Emirates has strict laws governing the flying of the country’s flag.
Standards set by the United Arab Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology state that the flag should be rectangular in shape, its height equal to half its width, and the colors in the correct order.
The owner must check the condition of the flag every 45 days to ensure it is undamaged and it must be changed every six months.
The rules apply to situations where a flag is permanently hung in government buildings or embassies.
But there are also regulations governing the short-term use of flags. They state that the flag must be made of nylon and must weigh more than 122.5 grams per square meter.
The penal code provides for fines and even prison terms for those who misuse the flag.
According to article 176, “whoever publicly insults the president, the flag or the national emblem of the state, will be punished with detention”.
Section 3 of Federal Law No. 2 of 1971 states that anyone who uses the flag improperly faces a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine; “for the flag of the country should be treated with dignity and respect, and should not be insulted, nor hoisted under any other flag or banner.”
What happens on Flag Day?
Flag Day is marked by schools, government offices, businesses and individuals who hang the country’s banner in front of their homes and workplaces.
Flag-raising ceremonies, during which the national anthem is played, are also held to mark the occasion.
The flag holds a special place in Emirati culture, and if you wish to fly one, there are special considerations to keep in mind.
Who designed the flag of the United Arab Emirates?
Abdullah Al Maainah, after taking part in a competition in Al Ittihad newspaper to design the flag in 1971, inspired by poet Safi-u-ddin Al Hali.
The young Emirati wanted the four colors to represent Arab unity, as depicted in the poetry written by Al Hali.
His submission beat out over 1,000 entries to be selected to represent the new nation.
Mr. Al Maainah was 19 at the time and later became foreign minister.
Only two flags were raised in December 1971 to mark the formation of the nation – one in Abu Dhabi, the other at Union House in Dubai.
On Wednesday, there will probably be hundreds of thousands.
Do the colors of the flag have a special meaning?
There are three horizontal bands of green, white and black, with a vertical red band next to the mast.
The four colors of the flag – known as the Pan-Arab colors – each represent a different attribute.
They are red for courage, green for hope, white for honesty and black for strength of mind. Together they represent the unity of the Arabs.