RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – People in Saudi Arabia are celebrating the first ever ‘Founding Day’ Holiday marking three centuries since the first Saudi state was established.
Announce on January 27, the new public holiday is being heralded with various cultural events across the Kingdom.
The first Saudi state was established by Imam Muhammed bin Saud in 1727 in the city of Diriyah, to the northwest of Riyadh.
The historic capital was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 and has been revitalized with a series of restoration projects giving visitors a glimpse of the old palaces and mosques.
Imam Muhammed bin Saud was born in 1979 in Diriyah. He oversaw, as ruler, an expansion of the state, and repelled attacks from eastern Arabian armies while also battling with an outbreak of the plague among the population, according to SPA.
Around 200 years later, his descendant King Abdulaziz unified the kingdom of Najd, centered around Diriyah, and the eastern kingdom of Hejaz, to form the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.
This unification was made into a holiday by King Abdullah in 2005 and is now recognized as Saudi National Day on September 23.
Founding Day events include the reciting of an epic poem at the Wadi Namar tourist attraction in southern Riyadh.
The event will include 3,500 performers enacting ‘The Beginning’s March’ along the two kilometer stretch of wadi.
A musical theatrical performance that also touches on the Kingdom’s history will be held on Wednesday at Mohammed Abu Arena theater in Riyadh.
Fireworks will light up the night above Riyadh on Thursday.
The National Museum in Riyadh will host several interactive workshops and discussions on the Kingdom’s culture and history from Tuesday until Thursday.
Other events include introducing visitors to Saudi traditional costumes and celebrating Saudi coffee.
A forum held by the public prosecution on Monday highlighted the religious and legal underpinnings of Saudi society initiated by founder Imam Muhammed bin Saud.
Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al – Mujib said these foundations affirmed the ‘solid relationship between the citizen and leadership’, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Dean of the College of Law at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Dr. Maha al – Mutlaq, noted the role Saudi women have played in society since its inception.
She also praised recent developments in women’s empowerment, SPA reported.