Kuwait is a small but vibrant Middle Eastern country. It is renowned for its illustrious history, traditions, and culture.
Although the nation observes several festivals throughout the year, the National Day, Liberation Day, and Hala Festival—all of which fall in February—are the most significant.
Kuwait National Day
Kuwait celebrates National Day on 25 February each year. It commemorates the day that Kuwait gained independence in 1961 with the ascent of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah to the throne. For all Kuwaitis, it is a day of national pride and delight.
Liberation Day is observed on 26 February to mark the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi domination in 1991. This day is significant to Kuwaitis because it represents the conclusion of a traumatic period in the country’s history and the beginning of a new era of freedom and prosperity.
History: Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990, claiming that Kuwait was historically a part of Iraq and blaming Kuwait for stealing Iraqi oil.
The world community swiftly denounced Iraq’s conduct, and the United Nations (UN) adopted a resolution demanding that Iraq withdraw its forces from Kuwait.
Meanwhile, Iraq continued to occupy Kuwait and refused to abide by the decision. On 17 January 1991, a coalition of 34 countries led by the United States launched Operation Desert Storm.
Kuwait was liberated on 26 February 1991 after the coalition forces launched an effective air campaign and a military invasion that ultimately forced the Iraqi troops to withdraw.
The two events are held consecutively, forming a big festival lasting an entire month. The National Day celebrations with festivals begin several weeks before 25 February, with streets & buildings painted in the colors of the Kuwaiti flag – green, white, and red.
The extravaganzas involve various activities and festivals, such as parades, cultural performances, and fireworks displays.
Also Read: Algeria observes National Martyrs Day
The parade in the heart of Kuwait City is the highlight of the National Day celebrations. Military bands, marching units, and floats reflecting diverse facets of Kuwaiti culture and heritage are all engaged in the parade.
Tanks, artillery, and fighter jets are on show for the public as part of Kuwait’s military power exhibition during the parade.
The illumination of the Kuwait Towers is one of the most well-known customs associated with Kuwait National Day. The Kuwait Towers are one of Kuwait City’s most distinctive structures.
The Towers are illuminated in the colors of the Kuwaiti flag, and spectacular fireworks display there to celebrate the occasion. The fireworks display is a spectacular sight that draws thousands of people to the city center to observe the festivities.
The Hala Festival
The Hala Festival is a month-long February event and one of the country’s most memorable celebrations. The festival annually commemorates Kuwait’s rich cultural and historical legacy. It attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The Kuwait Tourism Authority organizes the festival. It comprises various activities and events, including musical performances, cultural exhibits, visual arts displays, food festivals, and traditional dances.
The traditional Kuwaiti souq, a vibrant market where people buy conventional local crafts, textiles, and other products, is one of the primary attractions of the Hala Festival.
The market is a hive of activity, with vendors selling everything from spices and sweets to pottery and handmade jewelry. The souq is the ideal location to get a taste of the local way of life because it is brimming with brilliant colors, aromas, and sounds.
Along with typical Kuwaiti cuisines like machboos (spiced rice with meat or fish) and ouzi (a baked lamb and rice dish), tourists can also experience various regional delicacies.
Camels are raced at the Al-Salmi racetrack during the Hala Festival, another noteworthy event. In Kuwait, camel races are a customary occasion deeply ingrained in the history and culture of the nation.
People travel across the country to see the camels race down the track because the races are unusual. The festivities also allow Kuwaitis to assemble & take in performances & cultural displays highlighting Kuwait’s diverse traditions and customs.
It is a family-friendly occasion, with activities and events for all ages. It is customary to dress in national attire. Children participate in various activities, such as storytelling sessions, puppet shows, and face painting.
The cultural legacies of Kuwait, such as its poetry readings, operas, traditional dance performances, and music, are spotlighted by these celebrations. The Hala Festival’s music events, featuring domestic and foreign artists, are also quite popular.
These performances occur all across the city, including in theaters outside and concert halls. Pop, rock, hip-hop, and traditional Kuwaiti music are among the musical genres included during the events.
Art exhibitions showcasing the creations of regional and international artists are also open to visitors. Families are also welcome to partake in workshops to learn about traditional Kuwaiti arts and crafts.
This celebration allows Kuwaitis to reconnect with their heritage and honor their national identity. It is a lively and colorful festival that offers visitors an excellent opportunity to learn about the culture and history of their nation.
Celebration at the Embassy in Pakistan
The National Day festivities extend beyond Kuwait. Kuwaitis that reside abroad organize events and celebrations in their home nations and in Kuwait, where they are natives.
It demonstrates Kuwaitis’ strong feeling of national identity and pride, even when living distant from home.
On 22 February, Kuwait National Day was observed at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Pakistan to mark the nation’s independence at Sarena Hotel, Islamabad.
This day was celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. The Kuwaiti Embassy hosted a cultural event. The event featured traditional Kuwaiti food, music, and dance acts, highlighting Kuwait’s rich cultural history.
Kuwaiti diplomats and Pakistani authorities attended the ceremony. The embassy exhibited artwork and handmade items from Kuwait, showcasing the nation’s artistic traditions.
This occasion gave the Kuwaiti Embassy a chance to introduce the world to the nation’s rich culture, history, and accomplishments.
The event also highlighted Kuwait’s diplomatic and economic ties with Pakistan, fostering mutual understanding and cooperation.
Kuwaitis commemorated their national heritage and identity on Kuwait National Day. The celebrations allowed Kuwaitis to unite and express their pride in their nation’s accomplishments.
Kuwaiti diplomats revealed a strong sense of community and patriotism in the National Day celebrations, which brought joy and inspiration to Kuwaitis in Pakistan.
*The views presented by the author do not reflect the position of The Diplomatic Insight. Nor does The Diplomatic Insight bear any responsibility for the accuracy of the information cited.