Saudi National Day

Celebrated on September 23 every year in Saudi Arabia, Saudi National Day is a holiday that commemorates the renaming of the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This event occurred in 1932, and the day became an official holiday in 2005.

This holiday is known locally as Al-Yaom-ul-Watani. If the day falls on a Saturday, then the following day will be a public holiday, and if it falls on a Friday, then the Thursday before will be celebrated as compensation. Since this is a public holiday, most schools and businesses are closed on this day.

The History of Saudi National Day

Before Muhammad and the advent of Islam, the Arabian Peninsula was home to a number of different nomadic tribes that engaged in trade and warred against one another. Then the Islamic prophet Muhammad came along and unified these tribes into a single Islamic state.

After Muhammad’s death in the 7th century, Muslim territory and rule in the region continued to expand across the Middle East. Then the Ottoman Empire took control of the region in the 16th century. The Ottomans would rule until the end of WWI, and when it finally collapsed, Saudi Arabia emerged.

In 1921, Ibn Saud, the son of Abdul Rahman bin Faisal, became the Sultan of Najd in Arabia’s central region. After he conquered Western Arabia in 1925, Ibn Saud was declared King of the Hejaz in 1926. The following year, he changed his title to King of Nejd.

Although he was the king of both regions, he ruled each part as if they were separate from one another and not as one entity. It would take until 1932 for him to defeat former allies, and this is when the kingdoms of the Hejaz and Nejd were renamed and unified as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

However, it would take another 75 years before the day became an official holiday in 2007. This came after an announcement by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz that the 75th National Day would not just be a one-time event but that the holiday would be celebrated every year thereafter.

Observations, Traditions & Celebrations of Saudi National Day

Saudi National Day is a holiday that’s celebrated with festivals, songs, and even folklore dances. It’s also a day on which people show pride in their country and decorate their homes and businesses with Saudi flags. People also dress up in the national colors of Saudi Arabia — traditional green and white.

It’s also not uncommon to see many white and green balloons in public areas. After all, it’s a day in which all Saudis are encouraged to take pride in their country and celebrate its birth. Because it’s a national holiday, government buildings, businesses, and schools are closed.

Where is it celebrated?
Saudi Arabia (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 23 Monday
Next year (2025)
September 23 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
September 23 Saturday