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This year's Saudi National Day, celebrated every 23 of September, was my first time (after 6 years) to be outside on the streets and it was crazy! Though, not the 'crazy' kind that someone claims it to be.

For me, the two main highlights of the Saudi National Day are the people and the fireworks display

Not just the Saudi people but also the expats. This is the time of the year when people flood the streets and the parks in extraordinary volume to join the 'fun'.

The People

We got stuck in the traffic where our group was an oddity thus the occasional greetings like, "Filipino? Aywa! Filipino miya-miya (good)! Kumusta ka? Mabuti?.

(It was especially challenging to take the photos from this area as it was dim, thus the grainy photos. I like them anyway especially that awesome vintage looking car with kids on it.)

People were sitting on the car's windows, some even on the roof or hood of the car, waving flags, wearing wigs and masks. 

They were very willing to be photographed and would happily pose. 

The loud music, singing, chanting, and dancing kept the slow moving traffic alive. A boring, close-minded person would call this night chaotic and these people insane, but it was pure merriment and a parade of nationalism. 

When did we flood our own streets with merry people? Here in the Kingdom, they spray paint their cars with words (like 'KSA') and drawings in green. In the Philippines, we vandal with angry words in red on public places. (Oops! Going out of topic!)

Aerobatics and Pyrotechnics

Imagine, we left the house at 8 PM. We knew that the fireworks display would start at 10 PM. We thought that we'd reach our chosen spot early and would have time to watch the Aerobatics and Pyrotechnics. Apparently, we didn't but we still managed to see some of the airshows from the road. 

(What's this crap? I know, right? This photo is far from the real thing. Just to give you the idea. Look closely, those two 'green' are the planes.)

The Aerobatics and Pyrotechnics was like a real-life old school air strike video game! Imagine two planes doing aerial acrobats white shooting small fireworks! It was as if they were firing missiles and bullets just like in the game!

The airshow stopped at 9:30 PM, as scheduled, but we were still far off.

The Fireworks Display

Fast forward, we had to do something, and, fortunately we made it on time! 

We were still walking and had not yet found a spot to watch from when we heard an exploding sound nearby and there, the first fireworks shot up in the air! 

A Nationwide Event

This was a synchronized event. Saudi Arabia wanted to set a new record for the most number of fireworks display. There are reportedly 900,000 fireworks that went off that night.

We found ourselves standing very close to one of the launch platforms so photographing it with a wide lens was impossible.

I immediately went on the breakwater and there I found a view of the other set of fireworks with the green Water Tower as a bonus element.

It was our plan to go beyond that green tower and make it an interesting focal point. Only Mark made it to the planned location and he nailed his shots (his post on facebook is not Public so I can't share).

In those fifteen minutes, taking great shots were no longer my concern. I positioned my camera to take photos from the farther launch (to the left) and feasted my eyes on the one that was about two hundred meters away from me.

It was my first time to see fireworks this close, after all. It is rare to see fireworks in my hometown and I have never seen the Pyrolympics live.

Last night's fireworks are nothing close to what you'd see from international competitions, but they are beautiful nonetheless.

I tried to take tighter shots of the ones nearer to me but cared little whether they're good or not. Didn't bother to time the shots properly and just concentrated on the actual view.

Though, after reviewing the photos from last year, I think last year's set of fireworks is much better than this year's.


I thought the night was over after the fireworks, but no. We spent some more time with people who requested for their photos to be taken. Some were Saudis and the others Yemenis.

If I was to take this seriously (and bring a flash, which I don't really have) maybe I could earn some extra cash taking their photos hehe because there are actually some who are willing to pay!

Related Posts: 

✔️ Saudi National Day 2017 in Al Khobar


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