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Saudi Founding Day: From History to Celebrations, Everything to Know About the New Public Holiday

Vogue Arabia, December 2020. Photo: Hayat Osamah

Announced by King Salman in 2022, a new public holiday in Saudi Arabia now honors the Kingdom’s foundation on February 22. Titled Founding Day, the occasion is a separate one from the annual National Day of September 22 and celebrates the rich history and heritage of the first establishment of Saudi Arabia.

The history behind Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day

The day seeks to commemorate the foundation of the first Saudi state named Diriyah by Imam Mohammad Bin Saud. Although he rose to power in 1727, the establishment of the first Saudi state took place in 1977. In that year, through an alliance with religious scholar Mohammad bin Abdul Wahab, the emirate of Diriyah was born as the first amongst three Saudi states. However, its fall in 1818 led to the modern Kingdom as we know it today amid the re-establishment of the state with a new capital, known as Riyadh. Sifting between dynasties and wars, 1932 oversaw the complete reign of King Abdulaziz, who established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its entirety.

Diriyah. Vogue Arabia, December 2020. Photo: Hayat Osamah

How will Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day be celebrated?

A number of exciting festivities are taking place across the country to mark the special occasion for three days. For those residing in Saudi Arabia and working in the public and private sector, this year, Saudi Founding Day will bring a wonderful three day break, since February 22 is a Thursday, and the weekend in the Kingdom falls on Friday and Saturday. During the break, residents will be able to enjoy a series of celebratory events and festivities including exhibits appreciating traditional art, photo displays that share insights into the country’s heritage and history, and musical performances that celebrate the nation.

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