From desert camping to Burj Khalifa fireworks: How UAE residents plan to ring in New Year

From glamorous parties to serene desert camping, the ways in which people in the Emirates celebrate are as diverse as the country itself


Waad Barakat

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Published: Tue 26 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 30 Dec 2023, 5:06 PM

As the countdown to the New Year begins, people in the UAE are gearing up for unique and diverse celebrations. From glamorous parties in luxurious venues to serene desert camping and cosy nights at home, the ways in which people in the UAE welcome the new year are as diverse as the country itself.

New beginnings with beach yoga

In Dubai, Dayana Begalieva, a 23-year-old resident originally from Kyrgyzstan, plans to kickstart her day with an early morning yoga session on the beach. Engaging in the auspicious tradition of performing 108 sun salutations, she embraces new beginnings and positive energy. After a relaxing day at home, Dayana intends to host a small gathering with her closest friends and family. They will come together to cook a meal, cherishing the joy of preparing food as a collective effort.

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“It’s also my niece’s first New Year’s, she’s 3 months old, and I’m excited to dress her up and take cute pictures,” Dayana said to Khaleej Times.

Later, they will gather around the television to watch the mesmerizing fireworks illuminating the Dubai skyline.

“I am grateful for this year, and I can’t believe it’s already coming to end because it flew by so quickly, but I am excited to see what 2024 has in store!"

‘Another chance for us to get it right.’

Meanwhile, Mohamed Osman, a 26-year-old Sudanese expatriate living in Sharjah and working in Dubai as a research fellow, seeks a different kind of celebration.

“It’s been a tough a year for me, I want to celebrate the accomplishment of just surviving it. You can have the parties everyday but on NYE it’s time to reflect and all, get out of the crowd, sit under the stars,” shared Mohamed.

Mohamed Osman
Mohamed Osman

He plans to spend his New Year's Eve away from the hustle and bustle, opting for a desert camping experience. Alongside his friends, Mohamed will set up camp to witness the fireworks, enjoying barbecues, games, and conversations under the starry night sky. The tranquility of the desert, the fresh air, and the cold wind provide the perfect ambiance for reflection and relaxation.

‘The Palm feels like home’

Meriyam, a 22-year-old recruiter from Kazakhstan currently living in Dubai, sees New Year's Eve as a special time to gather with her closest friends who are visiting from Kazakhstan. They plan to prepare a homemade feast, exchange gifts, and enjoy a late brunch at the Palm. Meriyam finds solace in the Palm area, as it feels like home to her due to her work and frequent visits. Witnessing the fireworks from this familiar place holds sentimental value, and she hopes to introduce her friends to its beauty.

Meriyam and her friends
Meriyam and her friends

“New Year’s for us is very important. We believe that the way you spend New Year’s Eve is how the year will look for you, therefore we always try to spend it in a close circle with family and friends," said Meriyam.

Burj Khalifa fireworks

In Al Ain, Latifa Alameri, a 25-year-old Emirati, shares her family's evolving New Year's Eve traditions. While they typically celebrate with a simple gathering at home, they decided to venture out last year and camped near the Burj Khalifa to witness the magical fireworks away from the crowds. The experience left a lasting impression, and they plan to repeat it this year, cherishing the dreamy atmosphere.


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