The 23rd of September marks the 91st anniversary of the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; a cherished country that continues to grow deep in our hearts. In celebration of this great nation, Saudi Aramco gave Aramco employees the opportunity to express their devotion and admiration through a ‘Decorate Your House for National Day’ competition. “This is our home,” read the words in Arabic on the colorful, cardboard-carved outline of the Kingdom’s map that is the national logo for Saudi National Day, 2021. It sat in the front lawn of one of several decorated houses that could be found across Aramco residential communities, set up by Community Services to highlight the spirit of nationalism in celebration of National Day and also to promote the “Decorate to Celebrate” house decorating competition that residents of Dhahran, Ras Tanura, Abqaiq, and Udhailiyah residential communities were able to participate in.
The competition guidelines directed residents to be creative and original in decorating their home fronts for National Day, while incorporating cultural diversity and craftsmanship into their designs. Participants responded with some very inspired and imaginative displays and handiworks that showcased their pride and love for Saudi Arabia.
Winners from Dhahran
Winning entries from the 54 eye-catching home decorations spread out across the communities were selected based on being original, artistic or innovative. After much deliberation, the judging committee decided on a total of 26 winners, with 12 first prizes of a luxurious two-night stay at Ras Tanura Beach. For the second prize, 15 winners received a fresh gardening upgrade service.
“I was so happy when they informed me that I won! I feel like every year I have to participate and do better than before,” said Shagufta from Udhailiya who was one of the 12 participants to win the first prize.
A true reflection of diversity
Captain Mamdouh Albaiji’s winning display from Ras Tanura was the brain-child of his daughter Raneem who is an artist and loves design and decoration. “It was a whole family effort, but she was the group leader for this design,” he said. Because they live in such a diverse community, they wanted their display to make their neighbors feel like they are a part of this country and showcase how much this diversity is very much a part of Saudi Arabia.
Winners from Abqaiq
There were several enthusiastic entries from expatriate residents, a fantastic and heartening testament to the warm hospitality the Kingdom extends to its guests.
“I wanted to show my appreciation to our second home,” said Maricel Managa, a winner from Abqaiq.
“My family just completed 15 years. My children grew up here. This country and company mean a lot to me,” said Surajit Haldar, whose multicultural display incorporating Indian elements was a winning entry from Udhailiya.
Afsheen Javed from Abqaiq likes to decorate his home every year for Saudi National Day. This year, like others inspired by the competition and prizes, his family took two weeks to complete the project, including several visits to Khobar and Dammam trying to find the best material to get the desired outcome. Although the family has no artistic background, garden design is a hobby and helped in producing an eye-catching house design.
Winners from Ras Tanura
It was a family affair for Yassar Zia in Abqaiq, who said he, his wife Firdaws, and children who have lived here for 7 years, spent a long time gathering a large number of pebbles, painting them and then arranging them in layers in their front lawn to make the number 91, commemorating the 91st Saudi National Day. “We even bought the full Saudi attire form our son to dress for the occasion,” he said.
Usman Javed, whose car-stopping display on main Yamamah street in Dhahran also took a prize said his wife Amna spent a week setting up the creative decorations she custom-made from items she has accumulated over time because of her passion and interest in decorating. “My wife has been an active participant and helped decorate many large community events. She is very creative. This entire decoration for National Day was single-handedly done by Amna.”
Community Services presented each of the competition winners with a certificate, a box of chocolate and a flower bouquet at their homes. The remaining entrants also received a flower bouquet and thank you card to thank them for participating.
Winners from ‘Udhailiya
The passion of the community was palpable this Saudi National Day. Hatim Al-Ghamdi who won from Ras Tanura felt the preparations were a different level this year both inside and outside Aramco and he wanted to participate to express his love to his homeland.
Winners from Ras Tanura, Hisham Al-Ghamdi’s and his wife, who happens to have a background in interior design, were thrilled at the competition; it gave Al-Ghamdi’s wife a chance to exercise her expertise that expressed her family’s gratitude, love and devotion to their homeland. While Amal Al-Ghamdi, wife of Abdulkareem AlGhamdi, winners from Dhahran, said it best, “I feel very energized every day when I see the Kingdom’s national flag. I can see the future.”