It was touch and go there for a while, Bahrain, but we made it to December ... together!
This festive month has significant meaning to us; it is when our streets are covered in red and white lights, our radios blast patriotic songs, and our children don traditional clothes.
What a difference 12 months makes, though.
Last year, we celebrated National Day at crowded public festivals and in the arms of friends and family. The entire country was running on a collective high after our historic Gulf Cup win and we took that spirit well into the National Day holiday.
Twelve months later, we are socially distancing and wearing face masks; some of us having lost loved ones and others facing the brunt of the global economic downturn.
I, for one, did not think I’d be spending the year spray sanitising the air around me!
We’ve still been luckier than most, Bahrain.
At a time when the rest of the world is facing another wave of strict measures and spikes in Covid-19 infections, our numbers have been steady and in decline, with the economy fully reopened.
Our shopping malls, businesses and mosques are operating under the ‘new normal’, and we even successfully hosted two back-to-back F1 races.
We’re all decked up in red and white and holding events across our beautiful island this long weekend, albeit in much smaller numbers and without a key ingredient that makes our celebrations exceptional – our Gulf neighbours.
This is all down to the unfaltering dedication of our frontline workers, the commitment of our people and the crucial steps taken by our government, led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa , Crown Prince Prime Minister.
But after nearly 10 months, pandemic fatigue is real.
And while the things that were important to us last December may have altered this year, our main priorities remain the same – to be around the people we love and grateful for the blessings we have.
Many of us, myself included, may even miss the week-long discussions on WhatsApp groups on which public festivals to join, whose house to gather at, or which tents to book in Sakhir (Ah, the good old days!).
But scaling back National Day celebrations compared with previous years has been vital in our fight against the coronavirus.
Today’s National Day celebrations will be – will have to be – different. We must not forget that the pandemic is still raging on across the world.
Just as we came together by staying apart during the Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha celebrations, together we will win this one too.
It might even be sooner than we expect, as health authorities have already approved the use of Sinopharm’s vaccine and have granted authorisation for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
It seems we can finally see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, Bahrain, after what has been an exceptionally difficult and challenging year.
While the pandemic has dampened our traditional large-scale festivities this December, our spirits will continue as we celebrate our nation and our people.
Only together can we win this fight!
Ms Toorani is a columnist, speaker and former Deputy Editor of the GDN.