National Day: December 16
National Day is a public holiday in Bahrain.
December 16 in Bahrain is National Day, not only celebrating the independence achieved from the British in 1971, but also an expression of gratitude from the people to the king for the reforms introduced in 2000 that led Bahrain to democracy and stability.
History of National Day in Bahrain
From 1872, Persian Gulf principalities such as Bahrain had treaties of protection with the British Empire. The rulers of those principalities couldn’t dispose of their territory except to the British and that there would be no international relationships unless with British consent. In return Bahrain got protection from all eventual sea attacks. Eventually Bahrain became a British protectorate and entered the British Commonwealth of Nations. When huge oil reserves were found in Bahrain, the British strengthened their hold on Bahrain, and the period after World War II saw great discontent against the British throughout the Arab world. In 1970, Iran laid claim to Bahrain, but a later agreement with the British prevented Iran from following up on the claim. on December 15, 1971, the British had to leave the country after several riots and confrontations. Bahrain became independent from the British on December 16, 1971. Since then, December 16 has been celebrated as National Day.
Bahrain’s National Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
National Day is celebrated nationwide in Bahrain. Since 1999, the holiday has been extended to two days, from December 16 to 17, courtesy of his majesty King Hamad. Fireworks, laser shows, colorful floats, carnivals, and concerts are just a few of the national events organized to celebrate this day. For Bahrainis this is more than just another holiday; it is a day of gratitude for the king’s social and political reforms.