Declaration of Independence
25th February is celebrated as the National Day of Kuwait. It is a symbol of the historic struggle for independence and the glorious past of the country.
To understand the historic significance of the National Day of Kuwait, it is necessary to know the history of the country.
Kuwait was a small kingdom. Around the 1900s, international interest in the country began to increase due to its rich resources. To protect his country from the powerful Ottoman Empire, the then ruler of Kuwait Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah entered into an agreement with the British in 1899,which declared Kuwait as a British Protectorate.
But the discovery of oil and international interest especially in Palestine influenced Kuwait’s relationship with Britain. The export of oil boosted Kuwait’s economy. Modern infrastructure was constructed from 1949 and administrative changes were introduced in 1954. Changes in the Kuwaiti society also led to an increase in national awareness.
In view of the changing scenario, the ruler Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah realized that the old agreement with the British had become outdated and he proposed a new one. On 19th June, 1961 an agreement was signed between the Sheikh and the British government and Kuwait became an independent and sovereign state.
In 1962, Kuwait celebrated its Independence Day on 19th June. However, it was decided to shift the day to 25th February to avoid the extreme hot weather of June. It was the day when Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who had been instrumental in the independence of Kuwait, had ascended the throne. Since 1963, 25th February is celebrated as Kuwait National Day.
The National anthem of Kuwait is called Al-Nasheed Al-Watani. It is written by poet Ahmad Meshari Al-Adwani. The music is composed by Ibrahim Al-Soula and arranged by Ahmad Ali. It replaced the Amiri Salute composed by Yusuf Adees which has been incorporated into the national anthem. It was first broadcast on the National Day of 1978. However, the national anthem is used only sparingly in Kuwait.
English translation of the Kuwaiti national anthem is as follows:
“Kuwait, my country, may you be safe and glorious!
May you always enjoy good fortune!
You are the cradle of my ancestors,
Who put down its memory.
With everlasting symmetry, showing all eternity,
Those Arabs were heavenly,
Kuwait, my country,
May you be safe and glorious!
May you always enjoy good fortune.
Blessed be my Country a homeland for harmony,
Warded by true sentry giving their soils aptly,
Building high its history, Kuwait,
My country, we’re for you my Country,
Led by faith and loyalty,
With its Amir equally,
Fencing us all fairly, with warm love and verity,
Kuwait, my country,
May you be safe and glorious.
May you always enjoy good fortune!”
The National Day is celebrated with great fanfare. Public meetings are held. Official buildings as well as modern hotels are grandly decorated with lights. Public get-togethers and fireworks’ displays are common on this day. People dance and wave the national flag in the streets.
Some Kuwaitis take this time to travel and visit relatives and spend time with their families.
A common custom is to wear the national dress of the country on this day and go out on the roads waving the National flag.
There is also a custom of spraying one another with foams in the colors of the National flag.
Kuwait celebrates Liberation Day on 26th February, when it was liberated from Iraqi occupation. This is another national holiday.