Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, celebrated the forthcoming United Arab Emirate’s National Day by inviting staff and their families to join in a special celebration at its Abu Dhabi head office.

Several hundred employees and family members attended the colourful event, which took place this week outside the main entrance to the airline’s headquarters building and included traditional Arabic coffee and UAE national food, free gifts, children’s games, traditional dance performances, arts and crafts displays and free Henna application.

Ray Gammell, Etihad Airways’ chief people and performance officer, said: “National Day is one of the most important dates in the country’s annual calendar, marking as it does the formation of the UAE. As the National Airline of the UAE, Etihad and the rich culture of the UAE are one, and holding this event was a great way of celebrating that. The celebration was also a good way of helping our large multi-cultural workforce understand the UAE’s values and traditions.”

Many people attending the celebration gave their support to the campaign organized by Watani, the National Identity Program, to help celebrate the UAE’s 38th National Day by stamping their fingerprint on a special postcard paying tribute to the leadership of the UAE.

Etihad staff at the airline’s global contact centre at Sas al Nakeel in Abu Dhabi also celebrated National Day with a series of activities, including speeches, poetry readings and traditional dancing by local Emirati staff. The building was also decorated with flag, ribbons and balloons in the national colours of the UAE.

National Day is a public holiday to mark the formation of the UAE and is celebrated on December 2 every year.