Saudi Founding Day: All you need to know about the public holiday
Celebrating the rich history and heritage of the first establishment of Saudi Arabia…
February 22 marks Saudi Founding Day, a new annual holiday established last year (2022) to honour the Kingdom’s foundation and celebrate the rich history and heritage of the first establishment of Saudi Arabia.
Here’s all you need to know about Saudi Founding Day.
What is Saudi Founding Day?
The decision to commemorate Saudi Founding Day on February 22 dates back three centuries, during the leadership of Imam Muhammad bin Saud when he founded the first Saudi state in 1727 and established a political entity that achieved unity, stability, and prosperity. On that day, Diriyah became the capital of the first Saudi State.
Ancestors of the Saudi royal family first settled alongside Wadi Hanifah in the 15th century, founding the city of Diriyah in 1446.
But it was the determination of Imam Muhammad bin Saud in 1727 to oversee the expansion of Diriyah from a city-state to a nation-state, conquering territories in central Arabia and uniting them under his family’s rule.
Seven years following the end of the first Saudi State, Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Saud succeeded in 1824 in restoring it, establishing the second Saudi State, which lasted until 1891.
Ten years later, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Faisal Al Saud succeeded in 1902 in establishing the third Saudi state by uniting it under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Why do we celebrate Saudi Founding Day?
The Founding Day commemorates the three centuries of the existence of the Saudi state, highlighting its historical and civilisational depth, celebrating its diverse cultural heritage, and expressing devotion to the Imams, Kings, and citizens who serve the nation.
When it was first announced last year, the royal order also stated that this would enable the public to celebrate Muhammad bin Saud’s successors.
Why February 22nd?
Imam Muhammad bin Saud assumed power in Diriyah in the second half of the year 1139 AH. Therefore, Jumada II 30, 1139 AH (February 22, 1727 CE) had been selected as the date for the founding of the first Saudi State.
How is Saudi Founding Day different from Saudi Arabia’s National Day?
Saudi Founding Day is not an alternative to National Day (held every September 23), which celebrates the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. Instead, Saudi Founding Day aims to recognise the beginning of the Saudi state’s history with a new event that celebrates the deep historical roots of the Kingdom.
How will Saudi Founding Day be celebrated this year?
As it is a public holiday, it will fall on Wednesday February 22, 2023. Several exciting festivities will take place across the country to mark the special occasion. It includes an appreciation of traditional art and crafts, culture and heritage, as well as live music and performances. The cultural celebrations are expected to last several days, with students and the public sector given a long weekend this year.
Watch this space for some of the Saudi Founding Day events and celebrations that will take place in Saudi Arabia.