by Sorin Furcoi Showkat Shafi

Doha, Qatar – Qatar celebrated National Day amid the ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis, which appears to have created a greater sense of unity among the nation’s 2.5 million residents.

“This year’s celebration will be different than any other year as it comes under the imposed siege that took place months ago,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) on Sunday. “The celebration holds new and deep messages to the siege countries about the strength of Qatar.”

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Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt abruptly cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing “terrorism” and maintaining ties deemed too close with their archrival, Iran. Doha denies the allegations.

Qatari citizens and residents of Doha spoke to Al Jazeera about what this year’s celebrations mean to them.

“This year’s National Day is really special,” said Mohamed Alsherawi, a Qatari citizen. “Especially with the Gulf siege, we actually feel more proud to be part of this nation. We feel more proud of the unity between, not only the nationals, but even the expats. We are celebrating hand-to-hand, together and feeling really happy and proud to be here in Qatar.”

Cassandra Molloy, an Irish teacher, said: “This year, the surge in national pride is palpable. There has been a real sense of unity and resilience among the people living in Doha, both nationals and expats. This year’s celebrations feel so meaningful and symbolic of what Qatar is as a sovereign nation.”

A military aircraft during Qatar's National Day celebrations in Doha. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
A military aircraft during Qatar’s National Day celebrations in Doha. SORIN FURCOI/AL JAZEERA
Thousands participated in the two-day holiday from December 17 to 18, which was announced by Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Saturday. [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
Thousands participated in the two-day holiday from December 17 to 18, which was announced by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Saturday. SHOWKAT SHAFI/AL JAZEERA
The dhows at Doha Corniche were decorated with the portrait of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
The dhows at Doha Corniche were decorated with the portrait of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. SORIN FURCOI/AL JAZEERA
Qatar National Day is seen as a day of unity. [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
Qatar National Day is seen as a day of unity. SHOWKAT SHAFI/AL JAZEERA
Paragliders fly over Doha during a military parade. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Paragliders fly over Doha during a military parade. SORIN FURCOI/AL JAZEERA
Members of the Qatari armed forces parade during the National Day. [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
Members of the Qatari armed forces parade during the National Day. SHOWKAT SHAFI/AL JAZEERA
A parade of Qatari soldiers and military hardware along the capital city's corniche. [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
A parade of Qatari soldiers and military hardware along the capital city’s corniche. SHOWKAT SHAFI/AL JAZEERA
This year's festivities take place as Qatar continues to face a blockade, now in its seventh month, imposed by some of its Gulf neighbours. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
This year’s festivities take place as Qatar continues to face a blockade, now in its seventh month, imposed by some of its Gulf neighbours. SORIN FURCOI/AL JAZEERA
Thousands of people gathered along Doha's waterfront to celebrate Qatar's National Day. [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
Thousands of people gathered along Doha’s waterfront to celebrate Qatar’s National Day. SHOWKAT SHAFI/AL JAZEERA
Various cultural events took place across the country throughout the day followed by fireworks. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Various cultural events took place across the country throughout the day followed by fireworks. SORIN FURCOI/AL JAZEERA
Celebrations resumed this year after being cancelled in 2016 to show solidarity with the people of Aleppo during the offensive by Syrian government forces to retake the city from the rebels. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Celebrations resumed this year after being cancelled in 2016 to show solidarity with the people of Aleppo during the offensive by Syrian government forces to retake the city from the rebels. SORIN FURCOI/AL JAZEERA

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