Dubai residents share fond memories in the making

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Dubai residents share fond memories in the making
Jason Berrus with family

Find out what some residents will be up to when the clock strikes 12

By Melissa Randhawa

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Published: Sun 31 Dec 2017, 9:23 AM

Last updated: Wed 23 Sep 2020, 12:19 PM

The festive New Year holiday in Dubai is a much-awaited celebration of fun, cheer and parties. Family and friends bring their traditions to the fore and indulge their joys of sharing, bonding and wishing loved ones the very best for the year ahead. To catch the excitement rippling through Dubai, Melissa Randhawa asks a few residents to tell us how they plan to enjoy this glitzy and exhilarating public holiday: 
Jason Berrus, American
New Year's Eve traditions are important to us, especially for those with kids. With a newborn in our family, we'll spend the last few hours of the year playing games, drinking hot cocoa, while cosying up on the couch to watch the fireworks on TV. Last year, we were at the Coldplay concert in Abu Dhabi. This year, we plan to have Chinese hotpot and spend time reflecting on highlights of the past year with friends from church. We'll also have a time of prayer, thanking God for his goodness in 2017 and for 2018. 
Ghada Barakat, Egyptian
There's nothing quite like New Year in Dubai for a fashion lover like me. Without sounding clichéd, I will be at The Dubai Mall enjoying seafood, and mingling with close friends who are flying over to shop and meet for the New Year. We're having a reunion at a hotel near Burj Khalifa, and I'll be showing my friends where to buy the best fashionwear and gifts, and stop for coffee at beautiful cafes. Later that evening, we'll dine at a favourite restaurant called Eric Kayser, and take in the energy and chilly air at The Centre of Now, which will be bursting with a stunning display. 
Sheila Baldago-Tobias, Filipino 
We gather for Media Noche, a feast celebrated on New Year's Eve where we serve and eat sticky rice, which is believed to strengthen family ties. Round is a symbol of prosperity, so we have 12 different round-shaped sweet fruits for every month of the year as the centrepiece. Everything has to be lit at home - all doors, drawers, and windows will be opened to receive blessings. For abundance, we fill the rice container in hopes that we won't go hungry; the sugar jar is filled too, which symbolises sweetness in relationships. When the clock strikes 12, kids will jump to get taller, while adults will be jiggling their pockets full of coins.
Margaret Mascarenhas, Indian
Shifting to a new house after 18 years was such a thrill for me and my kids, that I finally bought my dream Christmas tree. My husband and our eldest son are travelling from different places to ensure that all five of us are together for Christmas - to welcome the New Year and begin this new chapter in our lives. The year 2017 had its challenges but taught us to cherish each moment with loved ones around us.
While I do miss my old place, especially my neighbours with whom we shared our lives, I am ready to celebrate the New Year at our new home.
Sunu Sudhakaran, Indian
My wife Rinku and I have grown up in Dubai and we love to sing and dance. New Year is bling-bling time for us. We are a huge family with varying age groups that love to party together in our best outfits and take lots of pictures with children, who grow up so soon with each passing year.
We're also going to combine our business hours with a trip to Ripe Market. The children pick seasonal produce for a favourite salad that my wife makes using baby spinach, carrots, kale, corn, cucumbers, apples and avocado. We'll start this year with good health and prosperity. 
Briar Prestidge, New Zealander 
After a busy and successful year of launching my personal branding agency, New Year will be a quiet and intimate time for me to acknowledge my accomplishments, personal and professional development, catch up with people through social media, and to express gratitude for everyone and everything I have. I will be spending it with a close friend from London and a home-cooked meal.
Asif Raza, Pakistani
We are celebrating the New Year with special Pakistani cuisine. Most restaurant owners will concur that we can never fully switch-off from the smell of success, which in my case is chefs plating up biryani, chicken handi, achar ghosht, chicken Karachi, aloo mutter, dal fry, zarda and rasmalai. This year, to be together, my family and friends plan to have a party at Lyari Darbar, so that I can keep an eye on business and enjoy the wonderful company. There will be no fear of missing out for this merry daddy on New Year. 
- Melissa Randhawa is a UAE-based journalist with over 20 years of experience. Born and raised in Dubai, she enjoys writing about its multicultural community.

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