DUBAI // A spectacular fireworks display framing the Burj Al Arab began the 43rd National Day celebrations on Monday.

UAE nationals, residents and tourists clapped and cheered as green and red rockets lit up the night sky.

The dazzling 15-minute fireworks were accompanied by a sound and light show that was beamed on the sail-facade of the Burj.

The scale of the display had beachgoers and residents stop by to take photographs.

Jets of light and golden fire crackers shot out from the Burj helipad and the upper floors.

Simultaneously the sail was the backdrop for an evocative video with images of soaring falcons, solar energy projects, green palm trees covering sandy deserts, a space shuttle taking off with UAE emblazoned on its body, a national satellite beaming signals back to all the emirates to signify the past 43 years since the country’s unification and the unfolding future.

“It was really quite great,” said German Saeed Reichert, 10, watching from the beach with his family.

“I really liked the fireworks and the space shuttle, and when they showed the Mars landing my little brother was sitting with his mouth open.”

Hundreds of people of different nationalities joined in the celebrations.

“I feel proud and happy that there are so many different nationalities joining in to celebrate,” said Sara Ahmed, an Emirati bank executive from Ajman visiting family in Dubai over the National Day break.

It was also a double celebration for the Burj Al Arab that marked its 15th anniversary.

“When I first came here, in 1993, you could drive from Satwa off road to here because it was desert,” said Tom Wright, the Burj architect visiting from the UK to be part of the celebrations… see more