Expo 2020 Dubai: Stunning closing show pays tribute to 6 historic months; as it happened

The ceremony featured musical performances, jaw-dropping fireworks and a flag hoisting ceremony

By Anjana Sankar, Nandini Sircar, Sherouk Zakaria, Shihab, Neeraj Murali, Rahul Gajjar, M Sajjad and Gopika Nair

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Photo by M Sajjad
Photo by M Sajjad

Published: Thu 31 Mar 2022, 6:05 PM

Last updated: Thu 31 Mar 2022, 9:50 PM

The greatest show on Earth came to a close tonight in a star-studded ceremony. Celebrations that ran through the night saw fireworks illuminate the sky above the Expo 2020 Dubai site and global stars take to the stage below.

The giant entry portals of Expo 2020 Dubai have opened 182 times over the past six months. And at 3am on April 1, it will close for the last time, having welcomed the largest gathering on the globe since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.


Latest updates

9.20pm: Crowd keeps pouring in as ceremony ends

Photo by M Sajjad
Photo by M Sajjad

Thousands of visitors exited the Expo 2020 Dubai Metro station and poured into the site after the closing ceremony ended.

8.53pm: 'Today is not the end of Expo'

In a message addressing the closing ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said today marks a new beginning. Hear his message booming through the Al Wasl Dome:

8.31pm: Spectacular ceremony celebrates end of Expo

Expo 2020 Dubai's closing ceremony promised to be just as iconic as its opening show — and it delivered.

The ceremony featured a final rendition of Expo's theme song 'This is Our Time', as well as musical performances by the Firdaus Orchestra, Christina Aguilera, Norah Jones and Yo-Yo Ma. The Expo baton was also handed over to Japan, which will host the next world fair in Osaka in 2025.

8pm: Second round of fireworks dazzle visitors

Photo by M. Sajjad
Photo by M. Sajjad

A second round of fireworks went off during Expo 2020 Dubai's closing ceremony at Al Wasl Dome.

7.56pm: Pavilions turn off lights to mark end

Several pavilions went dark for a few minutes to mark the end of Expo 2020 Dubai. Shortly after the fireworks, pavilions were lit up again.

7.50pm: Young Emirati girl awakens to her full potential

After six historic months, Mira, the young Emirati girl from the opening ceremony took the audience on another compelling journey. Over the past 182 days, she has grown, learned and connected with people from all around the world. Tonight, she took the final step and awakened to her full potential.

7.45pm: Fireworks light up night sky

Stunning fireworks enthralled visitors at Expo 2020. Numerous people were seen lifting their phones towards the skies to capture some of the most memorable moments of the mega fair, which marks its end today.

7.30pm: Passing the mantle

UAE officials passed the Expo flag on to the next organisers of the world fair, which will be held in Osaka, Japan, in 2025.

7.16pm: Meet the last visitors of Germany Pavilion

Indian expats Reslin Gafoor and her daughter Maryam waited for five hours to get into arguably the most popular pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai: Campus Germany.

After queuing up since 2pm, they have finally managed to get inside, and have been welcomed as the 'last visitors' by pavilion staff.

Soon after, the pavilion announced that it has closed for the day, "closed forever".

7.11pm: 'Our experience has been a unique one'

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, addressed the crowd at the world fair's closing ceremony.

"Here, at the closing of Expo 2020 Dubai, we open a new chapter together - a chapter of collaboration and partnership, to be launched from our beloved country," he said.

Sheikh Nahyan reiterated that the UAE would keep its doors open to everyone. "The UAE has, and will always remain, a country for all humans, so you are welcome here always," he said.

6.57pm: Counting down to the ceremony

Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Visitors huddle around, waiting for the closing ceremony to start. The ceremony, which is just moments away, will be live-streamed across giant screens at various sites, including the Jubilee Stage, Festival Garden, the country pavilions and the sports hubs.

Lights will be switched off in some pavilions between 7.35pm to 8.00pm to mark the end of the world fair.

6.37pm: Crowd swells at Expo's 'beating heart'

Photo by M Sajjad
Photo by M Sajjad

Thousands of people gather around Al Wasl Dome to catch a final glimpse of the beating heart of Expo 2020 Dubai.

6.33pm: 3 firework displays announced

Jaw-dropping firework displays are in store for Expo 2020 Dubai visitors throughout the night.

5.49pm: Crowd builds at Mobility District

Photo by Neeraj Murali
Photo by Neeraj Murali

Thousands of visitors are seen gathering near Mobility District as Expo 2020 Dubai comes to a close after six historic months.

5.15pm: Exposonic wows visitors

Exposonix, the official Expo 2020 Dubai band, now playing in Jubilee Park.

4.50pm: Last airshow of Expo 2020 Dubai

Visitors at the world fair were treated to a spectacular air show on the final day of 'The World's Greatest Show'.

The UAE Air Force’s Fursan Al Emarat aerobatics team put up a stunning, colourful display over the Expo site, much to the delight of the crowds.

3.45pm: A unique Expo souvenir

After visiting all Expo 2020 pavilions and getting their four limited edition white passports stamped, Urooj Shahzad and her children Anabia, Areej and Ayan from Pakistan are keeping another souvenirs: Stamped shirts. On the last day of Expo, they are getting the last glimpse of as many pavilions as they can.

12.42pm: Last day to hear 'Welcome to Expo'

'Welcome to Expo' are words that visitors will hear for the last time today, as Expo 2020 Dubai draws to a close.

Queues of visitors started piling up as early as 10am to catch one last glimpse of the different country pavilions of the six-month-long mega event that has become a part of the life of UAE citizens and residents.

More details here

12.17pm: Special closing day stamp

Some visitors got over 100 stamps and some got stamps of nearly all the pavilions in their Expo 2020 passport.

To end the Expo 2020 Dubai in a memorable way and bid goodbye to the mega event, visitors can now get the exclusive Expo 2020 Dubai closing stamp on March 31.

The special closing stamp can be collected at Thematic Pavilions and the Family, Visitor Centres, Concourses – Majlis, Expo explorer stations.

More details here

12.01pm: Meet Expo 2020 Dubai’s oldest visitor

"If someone misses the opportunity to visit the Expo, they will definitely regret it."

It’s never too late to learn something new and Maltiben Dhirubhai Naik has been doing just that by visiting Expo 2020 Dubai.

According to the video posted on Expo 2020 Dubai’s Instagram page, it’s Naik’s birthday today and she turns 98. The nonagenarian says in the video that she hails from Surat, Gujarat, India.

More details here

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