- Title: SAUDI ARABIA-NATIONAL DAY World’s tallest flagpole highlights Saudi National Day
- Date: 24th September 2014
- Summary: JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA (SEPTEMBER 23, 2014) (REUTERS) GUARDS PERFORMING AT NATIONAL DAY CEREMONY GIRLS WATCHING PERFORMANCE
- Embargoed: 9th October 2014 13:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVACDY1PVLO1WMYV54TBHD84SNWS
- Story Text: The streets of the city of Jeddah were brought to life on Tuesday (September 23), as Saudis celebrated the 84th anniversary of Saudi Arabia's national day.
Loud music and traditional dance performances were in full swing to mark the occasion, showing how Saudi authorities are taking greater liberty in celebrating the modern monarchy's anniversary, a sign of their growing influence against clerics who have criticised holidays outside of the Islamic calendar.
Saudi prince Mesha'al Bin Abdullah spoke about the significance of this event.
"The National Day is an occasion that reminds us of the value of this country, it is a chance to present our renewed loyalty and belonging. It also emphasises national unity, which this country is known for," said prince Mesha'al
For many spectators, the highlight of the event this year has been the inauguration of the world's tallest flagpole set by Saudi Arabia to mark this year's national day.
Carrying a giant Saudi flag weighting 570 kilograms, the 170 meters-high flagpole is believed to have entered the Guinness Book of World Records.
Secretary of Jeddah province Hani ABo Ras, Said it is not the first time Jeddah has made it into the record books.
"During just one year, Jeddah entered the Guinness book twice. The first time was when we opened the 'open museum' in north-Anani Mosque. God willing we will continue to do our best," he said.
Children wearing green and white masks leaned out of car sun roofs to watch the launching of the flagpole.
As night fell over Saudi Arabia, National Day drew to a close with a spectacular firework display over Jeddah.
"The National Day is a day of joy and it is different today, thanks to Prince Mesha'al, the Jeddah province, and to those in charge of this event," said one Saudi citizen Bader Al-Shareef.
Saudi King Abdullah, emphasised his push to reform the deeply conservative country upon taking power in 2005 by decreeing September 23 as an official holiday marking the kingdom's unification led by founder King Abdul-Aziz and an army of ultra-conservative followers. Since then, celebrations have become more colourful to attract larger masses.
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