In 1971, seven sheikdoms we brought together under a single identity to form one of the most powerful countries in the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The identity of this federal union was characterised by various symbols from the region. Today MyBayut takes a look at all the national symbols of the UAE that represent this powerful nation.
Before the unification of the UAE, the seven sheikdoms namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain were known to be the Trucial States. Thanks to the joint effort of the rulers Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Dubai, all these sheikdoms were converted into the emirates of the UAE. This federal union gave birth to a new country which needed new symbols and emblems to represent it.
Here is a list of the national symbols of the UAE that were formed to represent the federal union.
The most important national symbol of any country is the flag. The UAE flag also known as the Emirati flag has an interesting history of how it came to become one of the foremost national symbols of the UAE. After the federal union was formed in 1971 a flag designing competition was announced via the Al Ittihad newspaper. Over 1000 designs were submitted, from which only six was shortlisted. Eventually, the 4-colour flag we see today was chosen as the winner. It was designed by a young Emirati named Abdullah Mohammad Al Maena whose designs were inspired by the poem on Arab Unity by Saifiul Deen Al Goll. He was awarded AED 4k for his design. Each of the colours used in the UAE flag was described in the poem: white for good deeds, green for fertile plains, black for the darkness of battles and red for swords.
The national anthem of the UAE is called the Ishi Biladi which translates to “long live my nation”. Just as works on the UAE flag came into existence, Mohammad Abdul Wahab a famous Egyptian composer was tasked to compose the UAE national anthem. The lyrics were later written in 1986 by poet and scholar Arif Al Sheikh Abdullah Al Hassan after which it was officially adopted as the UAE national anthem.
The national emblem of UAE or the UAE Coat of Arms is represented by a falcon with a UAE flag at the heart of it. The Falcon represents the strength and heritage while the flag at the centre with the seven stars around it represents the unity of the seven emirates. Originally when the emblem was adopted in 1971, it featured a sailing Dhow at the centre instead of the UAE flag and seven stars. It was then redesigned in 2008 to reflect the growth of the UAE over the years and the strength of all the emirates.
The Emirati dirham is the official currency of the UAE. It is represented by the abbreviations such as AED, Dh or Dhs. The Arabic UAE dirham symbol is represented as د.إ
The word dirham dates back to the trading industry in the Ottoman Empire. It was adopted as the official currency of the UAE on 19 May 1973 and replaced the Qatar and Dubai riyal that was previously circulated. The UAE coins can be found in denominations of 25 fils, 50 fils and 1 dirham. As for the banknotes of the Emirati dirham, they come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. Both the coins and banknotes of UAE dirham feature national symbols of the UAE on both faces. To know more about them here’s an article on the 7 symbols on the UAE dirham and what they mean.
Apart from the above-mentioned, there are plenty of other National symbols that represent the UAE.
The Falcon is the national bird of the UAE. It is only fitting that this majestic bird stands as one of UAE’s national symbols, as falconry itself is a major aspect of Emirati culture and traditions. To the UAE, the falcon represents strength, national heritage and agility. The image of the falcon is seen on the UAE emblem as well as most of the bank notes.
The Arabian oryx is the national animal of the UAE. In Arabic, its called Al Maha There is a common misconception that the Camel is the national animal of the UAE due to its large presence here, but in fact, it’s the Arabian Oryx. For many years, these captivating creatures were considered extinct in the wild, but thanks to preservation efforts by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, they were brought back into the wild. The Arabian oryx is also a UAE currency symbol on the obverse of the 50 dirham note.
The national fruit of the UAE is the dates. It grows in abundance in the region and is known to be used in various Emirati dishes.
The national tree of the UAE is the Al Ghaf Tree, also known as the Prosopis cineraria. This plant species is indigenous to the UAE and is illegal to cut down. Many conservation efforts have been set in motion for the preservation of this evergreen tree. The Al Ghaf tree has been used as an inspiration for the logo for the Year Of Tolerance Initiative.
That concludes this list of the UAE national symbols. How many of these Emirian symbols did you know about? Well, now you know them all! If you found this information interesting, share this article with your friends and family who may want to know about these National symbols of the UAE.