In a few days’ time, Kuwait National Day will be celebrated. It will be consecutively followed by the Liberation Day and Isra’a Wal Miraj Holidays. Because of this, citizens can enjoy a 10-day break from February 24 to March 5.
Kuwait National Day will be celebrated on February 25, as is done every year. On this day, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah became the emperor of the country. The celebration of Kuwait National Day first started in 1962 and has continued since then.
A Short History of Kuwait
Kuwait was established in the early years of the 17th century. At that time, it was a small fishing village that had way fewer inhabitants than what is seen now. However, over the years, Kuwait continued to progress. Towards the end of the 18th century, what was once a small fishing village became an important place where trade and the construction of boats took place.
Later on, the Al-Sabah family assumed power over the whole of Kuwait in 1756.
But, things did not always go as smoothly. In 1899, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, “the Great”, came to an agreement with Britain. Kuwait became a British Protectorate in order to avoid being under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. They obtained naval protection from Britain, which effectively gave them the outcome they wanted. But, at the same time, Kuwait lost control over its foreign affairs to the same country that protected them.
Years later, the British protectorate ended and Kuwait became independent. This happened on June 19, 1961. At that time, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, from the same Al-Sabah family who had assumed power earlier, became the emperor.
The Emir of Kuwait
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait at the time of the country’s independence, is remembered as a hardworking official who catapulted Kuwait into progress and development.
He prioritized the country’s economic development by building infrastructure that would transform Kuwait into a global financial and commercial center. With these, more nationalities were encouraged to invest in the country and, as a result, the income of Kuwaitis was boosted.
But he was not just concerned about economic growth. He also valued social development. Unity and solidarity were promoted so that a fair, equal, and just country could be created. Nothing can be achieved without collaboration and peace, and the emir of Kuwait knew just that.
Why is Kuwait National Day Celebrated on February 25?
If history were to be followed, Kuwait National Day should be celebrated on June 19 every year. This is common practice everywhere else in the world. The national day is usually celebrated on the same day that the country obtains independence.
However, the weather conditions in Kuwait on June 19 are too unfavorable because of the extreme heat that occurs at that time. In 1963, it was moved to February 25. This will enable the country to conduct the celebrations of Kuwait National Day without sacrificing the comfort and safety of its citizens.
How is Kuwait National Day Celebrated?
Kuwait National Day is a busy time for everyone in the country. There are many festivities, gatherings, and fireworks displays being held throughout the day.
Citizens are out on the streets to celebrate Kuwait National Day. They go to parks, malls, beaches, and restaurants. Many families also come together during this time. Among the different places in the country, Messila Beach and Al-Sha’ab Leisure Park are the most popular areas visited.
It is also a very fun time for children because they get to play with water guns and throw water balloons at each other on the streets. They paint their faces with the design of the Kuwait flag, wearing them proudly as they go around the stalls that have been put up for the holiday.
Those who prefer a more relaxed activity often head to the park, set up their mats, and have a picnic there.
When one looks up in the sky, there will be jets, helicopters, and airplanes that are all designed with the colors of the Kuwait flag. The UAE aeronautical team even prepares stunts for the crowds to enjoy.
The country is also honored by its citizens in different ways. Children and the elderly sew traditional dresses and wear them on Kuwait National Day. The flag of the country is even placed or painted on cars.
Houses are also decorated with the use of colorful lights, candles, and the Kuwait flag. Even the Kuwait National Museum, Al Bahhar Entertainment Historical Village, Mirror House, and Kuwait Towers are not spared. Truly, the Kuwait flag can be seen everywhere and anywhere during Kuwait National Day.
All this occurs in the background of the national anthem. It is played by citizens on the streets and on the Kuwait Towers. The national anthem and other chosen songs can be heard in every nook and cranny of the country.
Kuwait Liberation Day
Kuwait Liberation Day comes after Kuwait National Day. It is celebrated on February 26 every year.
Years after the country obtained independence, Iraqi troops took over Kuwait on August 2, 1990. The tension between the two countries started less than a month before this took place. On July 18, 1990, Kuwait was accused by Iraq of unauthorized acquisition of petrol from the oil field in Rumaila, which is supposedly under the jurisdiction of Iraq. Because of this, Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq at that time, demanded $2.4 billion as compensation. Kuwait defended itself against this accusation.
However, what came after was a series of destructive events that eventually led to the fall of Kuwait. The capital of the country was bombed and Iraq took over Kuwait on August 8, 1990.
With interventions from countries all over the world, especially the United States of America, Kuwait was eventually liberated. The troops of Iraq left the country and surrendered to their defeat.
Isra’a Wal Miraj
The Isra’a Wal Miraj is also known as “The Prophet’s Ascension” and the “Night Journey.” This national holiday occurs on the 27th day of the seventh month (Rajab) of the Islamic calendar.
This revolves around the Prophet Muhammad, who traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem in the year 621. From there, he ascended into heaven. Prior to the night journey, the Prophet had experienced difficulties and pain. He lost his wife Khadijah and uncle Abu Talib, who were both very dear to him. His tribe and family, the Quraysh, were also made the laughing stock of society. But, his suffering did not end there. He was also rejected by the community in Taif whom he talked to about the Islamic message. The people did not just verbally drive him out of the area. They went as far as throwing stones at him.
However, the Prophet Muhammad was never alone. Angel Jibrīl was always there to help him.
The Isra’a Wal Miraj has imparted many life lessons to its believers.
First, it teaches them to believe that anything is possible. Second, all difficulties will come to an end and be met with comfort. In Surah al-Inshirah 94:5-6, it states that “for indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” Lastly, it imparts the lesson of trust between two friends. When everyone else does not believe a word one says, friends will be there to show their support. There are many more lessons that can be learned from the experience of the Prophet Muhammad.
On this day, believers pray during the night. Many will also keep their lights turned on for the whole duration of the evening.
The Kuwait International Airport Will Be Busy
The 10-day break will be a great opportunity for everyone to spend some time by themselves or with their loved ones. Because of this, it is expected that around 242,000 citizens and residents will flock to the Kuwait International Airport in the coming days.
Fifty-five percent, or around 133,541 individuals, of the expected foot traffic at the airport will be on outbound flights. Istanbul, Cairo, Dubai, and Jeddah are the preferred destinations of most of the travelers leaving Kuwait.
On the other hand, 44%, or approximately 108,494 people, will arrive in the country.
This means that there will be 2,280 different flights departing from and arriving at Kuwait International Airport throughout the duration of the holidays. In a day, 288 flights are expected to occur.
Kuwait International Airport just started operating at full capacity a few months ago. In the midst of a pandemic, it might be challenging to accommodate so many travelers and ensure that public health protocols are complied with. However, the officials managing the airport said that they were prepared for the influx of passengers. Their logistical plan was created in accordance with the health regulations in the country. With this, passengers have to follow certain health protocols from the moment they step off of the airplane and exit the airport. At the same time, the situation at the airport will be closely monitored so that there won’t be any disturbances in the operations.