Men In White

When Masood forwarded me an email (from the Dubai Internet City people) that said “you are cordially invited to celebrate the 38th National Day of the United Arab Emirates”, I insisted that we go and see how the locals celebrated.  Actually, the National Day is on December 2, but since that’s a holiday they decided to celebrate today – last working day before the long weekend.

And it was my first time to see the men in white perform – live.

Isn’t their traditional dress pretty?  It’s known by several names, like thawb or thobe, or dishdasha, or kandura, or khameez, or suriyah (in Libya).  A cousin of mine call it, lassi ka glass.

Anyway, I’ve also asked Masood to record a small clip of their performance.  I felt shy to do it myself.  Personally, I think their folk dance is too slow and repetitive.

Brief history of the traditional dance here.


In the picture above, Masood signed an Eid postcard.  This was provided by the organizers for free.  Notice the fishbowl full of cards?  All of these will be delivered to the president of the UAE.  They even put their thumbprints there.

I didn’t send out a card.  I was busy eating chocolates.

As you can see, lunch was free.  There was biryani, fried chana dal (or yellow dried split peas), and al harees.  Food was good, alhumdulillah, but too bland for our desi taste buds.  There were also two kinds of sweets, which we didn’t feel like trying.  Two women wearing the tradition golden face veil were sitting in a tent making them.

There also was traditional coffee and tea, and lots of chocolates wrapped in papers the color of the flag.

Oh, and there was also this mandatory man with a falcon.  That’s a must in every Emirati celebration.  I didn’t take his picture though.  He was already surrounded by photographers, and was acting like some celebrity.

It was a fun day.

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9 Responses to Men In White

  1. Nizsha says:

    Happy National Day Nadia 🙂

    I know the dance can get a bit dull after a while.I love the part where young boys come in throwing daggers or rifled high up in the air and then catch them while in different positions such as half seated.

    Oh and Eid Mabrook to you and your family 🙂

    Please keep us in your duas inshallah I’ll do the same.

    Thank you! Happiest Eid to you and your family 🙂

    Oh, they didn’t throw daggers and rifles today. Too bad, that should’ve been more fun.

  2. Mezba says:

    Ah, the free food. They are quite lovely! And the dances, lol, we had seen some fun ones too – even imitated them at our functions here!

    No girls with swinging hair now? That used to be quite common in the 80s.

    UAE is one shining example of an Arab state and what people can do with good leadership and sensible population.

    Girls with swinging hair? What’s that?? Well, I’m glad there weren’t any of those today. But I love the food here, specially when it’s free. Makes it more fun 🙂

  3. masood says:

    Yes, they look very dignified in those attire. I should say you’ve cleverly chosen the title “Men in White”

    Thank you! Let’s get one of those for you. I’m sure it’ll suit you well 🙂

  4. Wow, that is a very elegant national dress!

    It is, Sara. And they always wear it wrinkle-free. I wonder how they manage to keep it that way the whole day.

  5. Jeanet says:

    On National Day what did expats, local women and kids do, I bet nothing as they considered invisible or too inferior to participate in most Arab states, right?

    The expats were mainly spectators (taking pictures and enjoying the performance and the food), the local women were making traditional sweets in the tents and selling stickers and flags, while the children had their face painted and were playing with the balloons.

  6. Haleem says:

    Some one should introduce them to Bollywood! 🙂

    Actually, they have already been introduced to Bollywood. They go to the theaters to watch the latest Hindi film, and can speak basic Hindi/Urdu. Oh, they love SRK 😀

  7. Haleem says:

    Oh happy national day.

    Thank you.

  8. maryam says:

    HAPPY NATIONAL DAY AND EID MUBARAK TO U! On wednesday my husband showed the same picture of the postcard with the thumbprint,apprently there were inks in 3 colors red ,green and black! This year the national day celebration is on a lil high spirit,isnt it?

    Yes, there were three ink colors for the thumb printing 🙂 Too bad I missed out on the parade at Al Qasba … wanted so bad to see that.

  9. lassi ka glass.. lmao
    btw that isn’t dance, forget about flaunting their moves, they aren’t even moving in first place :p

    This is the kind of dancing where one doesn’t need to move 😀

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