Saudi Arabia has announced a new national holiday called Flag Day that will be celebrated annually on March 11. The announcement came through the Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday, stating that the decision was made by the order of King Salman.
The chosen date for Flag Day corresponds to March 11, 1937, which was the day when the design of the country’s current flag was endorsed by former King Abdulaziz. This day falls on the 27th of Dhu Al Hijja 1355 on the Islamic calendar.
The flag behind Flag Day
The flag features a green background with a white shahada, or inscription, above a sword. The shahada is a profession of faith and reads: “There is no deity but God. Mohammed is the Messenger of God.” This design has been in use since 1973, with minor differences from the original flag that was first designed in 1902.
Before the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 by King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, the flag had several variations. The king’s army used to carry a banner featuring only the shahada during conflicts with other Arabian tribes and rival families. Later on, after capturing Riyadh in 1902, the sword was added to the flag by Ibn Saud.
Last year, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that February 22 would be celebrated annually as a national holiday to commemorate the founding of the state. The government’s decree at the time explained that this move was made to “show pride in the well-established roots of this state and the close connection of its citizens with its leaders since the era of Imam Muhammad bin Saud three centuries ago.”
The new Flag Day holiday is likely to further boost the patriotic spirit of the Saudi citizens, who already show immense respect and loyalty to their country’s symbols and traditions.
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