Our guest contributor Anousha Vakani is enthusiastic about Saudi National Day. She takes a great initiative and gets several of our readers aboard by inviting them to answer questions about what the day means to them, and generally what they like about the KSA experience in general. Don’t stop celebrating, but do take a moment to look at what our readers have to say. Your feedback is never too late, so put in your two cents in the form of comments under the post or mail them to us (you can find contact details here), and we’ll be happy to work them into the post. A very happy Saudi National Day to all of you!
What does Saudi National Day mean to you? How do you celebrate?
Saudi national day means a lot to me, I used to be a student in Manarat, a very cultural school. We used to have a proper celebration that entailed face painting, select students performing a cultural dance, and best of all Arab food along with a little lesson on the history of our lovely nation. Furthermore, classes were cancelled for the whole day. 🙂 – Saman Asad
To me Saudi National Day is a special day that reminds me, where ever I am in the world, that the country I consider home is still proudly independent. On this day a rush of excitement floods the streets of KSA and paints a smile on all of our faces. – Zaynab Tariq
I celebrate it by staying at home and purchasing a Saudi flag…– Raed
When green is hung up everywhere, I can’t help but think of all the eco-friendly attempts that I have made and seen. It’s a chance to remember how young Saudi Arabia is and how many possibilities there is for its future. I think of this article in particular
I celebrate by doing all my shopping the day before and staying securely at home! You won’t see me stuck in that traffic 😛 – Khayra B.
Saudi National Day is a celebration of the unification of Saudi Arabia: a country where the two Holy Mosques stand. It is a celebration of peace and prosperity and spiritual unity for the Muslim Ummah as a whole. I usually celebrate with friends and family!– Sundus
We celebrate by praying for the prosperity of the country… May Allah keep His blessings on Saudi Arabia, always… Ameen. – Naureen
I don’t celebrate, and seeing the way people celebrate here dancing till after midnight in the streets of Jeddah with the flag saddens me. I believe that is not a proper way of showing respect to the forming of this country. – Israa Al-Qassas
I usually celebrate it by buying flags or badges which I pin to my shirt and carry around with me. I also dedicate my status to the day. – Yumna
Foundation basis of Saudi was laid on this day! I decorate my house, my car and put Saudi National anthem and go on streets to party with friends carrying Saudi flags in our hands 🙂 – Saad
What changes have you seen in KSA recently? What changes do you hope to see in the future?
The drainage system being FINALLY built, which is a VERY good step Alhamdulillah! The bridges and underpasses that have been made, which make getting to places much easier and faster. The thing I feel like they need to do most is to make the Jeddah airport better as it lacks a lot of things and it’s essential as people all over the world come to Jeddah. And it’s not even like they don’t have the money to build it. They do, so I advise them to start working on it. – Aisha Salman
I have seen a population boom in Jeddah and also seen how women have started to work in public places. I also see how women are opening up small business such as caterers and aerobic instructors. I also have seen a boom in women working in the commerce industry. One thing I would like to see change in is the transport in KSA; public transport should be available to all and safety traffic laws need to be implemented and strictly adhered to, to prevent unnecessary loss of lives.– Nawal Ismail
Changes I’ve seen so far are: new malls/buildings and a bunch of bridges dotted all over the place (That take like forever to complete)! Changes I’d like to see are: A better, more organized driving system and an overall cleaner environment – Uthman Omar
The biggest change that I personally think has had the most impact of society is an increase in female employment. Women who are receiving no income can finally earn for themselves and support their children. A change I would like to see in the future would be the opportunity for women to drive as some women either have no male support or cannot afford drivers. Women need more independence. – Zaynab Tariq
Bigger highways, malls, improved traffic (far better when I first came), rules are a little less extreme and lastly more events to keep women busy. I would like to see more available activities for the youth which should be widely available, more public parks and an end to the family only rule in malls. – Raed
My favorite change is Saudi women working in malls while acting and dressing professionally. I got so excited I made a list
I hope the same amount of awareness and initiative is used towards helping the environment. It’s no secret how much smoke gets in the air, how much water & energy is used, and how much litter is thrown around daily. – Khayra B
Women have greater freedom in KSA in terms of work opportunities recently. The election of a woman to the Shoura Council is another recent change. I hope now that the social stigma associated with a working woman will be lifted. – Sundus
Saudi Arabia is a slow paced society, and I like slow changes! In future, I see women driving. – Saad
I feel that over the years, KSA has become less conservative and open minded especially concerning woman and their rights. I hope this will continue and maybe in the future the law that bans woman from driving will be lifted. – Yumna
The change I’ve seen with the population is that it has adopted globalization yet has managed to keep its roots alive. – Meral Khan
People have become more welcoming and open minded towards women’s rights… hope to see this exponentially increase in the future – Danish Ali
What do you love most about living in KSA?
The low crime rate, the roads, not too many power downs even in poor places.– Aisha Salman
The Islamic environment that is difficult to find elsewhere. The freedom of wearing my hijab and preform my prayers without any inappropriate comments or stares. – Israa Al Q
The best things about Jeddah are: living so close to Makkah; wearing hijab is normal; masajid everywhere; work schedules altered to accommodate the Islamic calendar; people from all over the planet; in spite of being one of the oldest human settlements on Earth, today’s Jeddah is mostly very new. Also, great shopping, BTW. – Anne Osman
Cheap gas, great food. – Danish Ali
I actually love the freedom there, this may sound paradoxical but honestly women that are hijabi or conservative have a lot of freedom, because there are many things that are dedicated to women only, you will never find that anywhere in the world! – Saman Asad
I just love the normality of segregation and being able to fully cover without being looked at in a strange way. I also love watching all the shops close while the Adhaan for salaah is being called, Allahu Akbar, only in Saudi Arabia, w’alhamdulilah. – Ruqayyah
The infrastructure and the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. – Hassaan Pervez
People from all over the world and how humble and friendly they are. –Raed
It’s easy to partake in productive activities. Once you know where to go and who to team up with, there are so many initiatives and groups working towards improving Jeddah even further. – Khayra B
Dining, corniche, malls, shopping. – FA
Peace and calm. – Mohammad Rafay
I am treated as a princess! But seriously: I do not have to drive, drop children to school or get groceries. I have a maid, a driver, and the extended family system means my parents are always close by. What more do I want?– Sundus
Calm and quiet environment – Naureen
The coffee– Sak A
What do you miss most while you’re away?
The people I meet in KSA. The emotional attachment you develop to the country as well as the people is far too strong to overcome. I’ve lived in London for a few years of my life but have never felt the same way about London as I feel for Jeddah. My heart always is and will always be in KSA.– Zaynab Tariq
I miss spending Ramadan in Saudi. – Abeer Khan
Aside from the holy sites, I’ll definitely miss Al Baik (lol), my compound which spoiled me and each and every person whom I have met.– Raed
What I miss most about Saudi is hearing the adhaan at salaah time, not just one adhaan but about 5 different ones from all the local mosques, all calling the same thing at the same time. Sub7anaAllah. – Ruqayyah
The freedom to be a practicing Muslim and cheap petrol. – Wakas
Calm and privacy – FA
Ramadan!– Mohammad Rafay
The vibe you get from Jeddah, the bubbly ‘life’s good’ feeling, oh and Al – Baik/Munch/Baskin-Robins – Uthman Omar
Triple F = Friends, Food and Festivals – Saad
Know anyone who would love this?