This holiday celebrates the beginning of the country in 1961. But this small country on the Arabian peninsula actually declared its independence from Britain on June 19, 1961.
So why is National Day celebrated in February?
Apparently, Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who was the ruler of Kuwait from 1950 to his death in 1965, is seen as so important to ending the British “protectorate” of Kuwait, and the independence of the country, that the nation took as its national holiday the date on which Abdullah took the throne, February 25 (1950).
Kuwait is classified as a constitutional monarchy, with an elected parliament that makes laws but a head of state more like a king than like an elected official. This head of state used to have the title Sheikh, and is now titled Emir. Therefore, Abdullah can be considered the last Sheikh of Kuwait and the first Emir of Kuwait.
On this national holiday, the people of Kuwait will get together to eat, drink, sing and dance; at night there will be fireworks displays.
- Kuwait has a lot of oil, and it is ranked the 11th richest nation in the world.
- Although for decades only a tiny portion of the people who lived in Kuwait were allowed to vote, in 2005 several rules changed. Women, new citizens, and citizens who serve in the military are now able to vote. In 2009 four women became Kuwait's first female lawmakers.
- One reason so many people living in Kuwait can't vote is because so many people who live in Kuwait—almost 70%—are not citizens but rather are “expatriates.” That is, they are people who were born and brought up in another nation, and whose legal residence remains that other nation. Kuwait rarely grants citizenship to “foreigners.”
- About 57% of people who live in Kuwait are Arab, including Egyptian, Syrian, and Iranian nationals; and 39% are Asian, including a lot of Indian nationals.
- Kuwait has been ranked first in the Middle East and the Arab League for its freedom of press.
..............................................and Arabic Coke!
Check out this small, hot country on the AMIDEAST website. (Be sure to click “Photos” at the bottom of the page.)
The official website for Kuwait is pretty glitzy. Take a peek at the sections called “Kuwait at a Glance,” where you can hear the national anthem and see photos of the islands (“General Information”) and see a short video (“A Trip Through Time”).
A majority of the people in Kuwait are Muslim, which means that they follow the religion called Islam. Here is some info on this religion, written for kids.
Islamic playground has some games and activities, such as this matching game and this coloring activity.
One food that has been enjoyed in many different Arab nations in the past has now become popular all over the world: hummus. This food is made from chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans. Get a great recipe for this tasty dip, along with other Arab and special Kuwaiti dishes, here.