The Persian Gulf shiekdom of Kuwait celebrated its 17th national day last week on Feb. 25 but, according to the Kuwait Times, nobody really knows what the date is supposed to commemorate.

Kuwait, with about a tenth of all the world's oil is said to be the richest country on earth with a per capita income of dollars $15,190. That is reason enough to celebrate anytime but why Feb. 25?

For many years if was believed that the date marked the day in 1899 when Kuwait became a British protectorate - not the kind of thing most countries celebrate nowadays - but according to the Kuwait Times the treaty was signed in January.

Other Kuwait writers have argued that Feb. 25 marks the day when the late Amir, Shiek Abdullah Salem, came to the throne in 1950. The government, however, has never accepted this reason.

The treaty with Britian was terminated on June 19, 1961, which marks the date of Kuwait's true independence. Yet Kuwaitis are reluctant to celebrate that day because it might indicate to the world that Kuwait had been a British colony when in fact it had been a protectorate with internal self-rule.

Thus, according to the Kuwait Times, the most plausible explanation for celebrating national day on Feb. 25 is simply because the weather is neither too hot nor too cold, "thus making the people's participation in parades and floats possible with enthusiams and vigor."

"It gets really very hot indeed in our country towards June," a Kuwait businessman explained, "and you do not want to venture farm from the air conditioning."