As it happened: Happy New Year, UAE! Fireworks, drone shows light up 2024

With journalists stationed across the Emirates, Khaleej Times brings you all the action and visuals in the hours leading up to January 1, 2024

by

Sahim Salim

/

Nasreen Abdulla

/

Angel Tesorero

/

Shihab

/

Neeraj Murali

/

Waad Barakat

/

Meher Dhanjal

/

Waheed Abbas

/

Muhammad Sajjad

/

Ajanta Paul

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Sun 31 Dec 2023, 3:59 PM

Last updated: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 9:00 AM

Six record-breaking firework feats, drone shows, dazzling performances: The UAE put on a show to remember as it stepped into 2024 with hope for a beautiful new year.

Abu Dhabi skies lit up with 40 minutes of fireworks and a show put up by 5,000 drones, while Dubai’s Burj Khalifa glowed with its “brightest, biggest and most colourful” display yet.

Ras Al Khaimah laid out a carpet of aquatic pyrotechnics, LED drones and fireworks illuminating 4.5km of shoreline stretching from Al Marjan Island to Al Hamra Village.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

While many residents celebrated the end of 2023, some chose to mute New Year’s Eve festivities as a show of solidarity with war-ravaged Gaza.

Here is how the last night of 2023 ended and the first day of 2024 began, as captured by Khaleej Times journalists stationed across the Emirates.

12.40am: Celebrations still on!

As UAE ushered in the New Year with several fireworks shows, drone shows and other celebrations, there has not been a single dull moment since the clock struck 12.

Crowds have now begun gathering at Metro stations in Dubai as they begin to head back home after enjoying stunning displays of fireworks. Here's what it looks like outside Business Bay Metro Station right now:

KT Photo: Mazhar Farooqui
KT Photo: Mazhar Farooqui

Police, Civil Defence and other authorities were on-ground across the country as visitors flocked in from around the world to bring in the New Year here.


12.30am: Take a look at these stunning shots from Ras Al Khaimah

KT Photos: Neeraj Murali
KT Photos: Neeraj Murali

12.28am: Abu Dhabi welcomes 2024 with 40-minute of fireworks

KT Photo: Shihab
KT Photo: Shihab

Abu Dhabi welcomed the New Year with a dazzling and record-breaking firework and drone show display at the Sheikh Zayed Festival on Monday.

The New Year celebration started with an amazing drone show which featured 5,000 drones, while record-breaking fireworks just wowed and mesmerised the visitors which lasted for 40 minutes.

Thousands of residents across the UAE thronged the Festival to celebrate the New Year.


12.25am: Missed the Burj Khalifa show?

Did you miss the iconic Burj Khalifa show? Watch the picturesque show below:


12.15am: Stunning fireworks at Ras Al Khaimah

Watch the picturesque fireworks show at Ras Al Khaimah below:


12.10am: Global Village brings in 2024

KT Photo: M. Sajjad
KT Photo: M. Sajjad

Happy New Year UAE. The sky above Global Village turned into a sea of blue, green red and golden as the entertainment destination put up an almost 5-minutes display of pyrotechnics to welcome 2024.


12.05am: Dubai welcomes 2024

A message of sustainability and environmental protection - Happy New Year from Dubai!


12am: Happy New Year!

Photo: Emaar
Photo: Emaar

The UAE welcomes 2024 with a bang. Spectacular fireworks are lighting up the skies in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Ras Al Khaimah.

At Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi, you are currently being treated to a 40-minute long fireworks show and a show featuring 5,000 drones.

Dubai's Burj Khalifa show is "a seamless integration of technology, artistic excellence, and human ingenuity.”

15,682 pyrotechnics, 22,000 gallons of water are currently being fired in the air to create an “awe-inspiring blend of water artistry, light, and sound, in synchronisation with the iconic fireworks.

Ras Al Khaimah on the other hand, is currently breaking its own Guinness World Record for the sixth time in a row. Stretching across the 4.5km waterfront between Al Marjan Island and Al Hamra Village, the display aims to set new records.


11.58pm: 2 minutes to 2024!

Take a look at this iconic picture of Burj Khalifa as UAE gets ready to welcome 2024.


11.55pm: 5 minutes left!

With just five minutes left of 2023, visitors are welcoming 2024 by watching a stunning drone show at the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi.


11.53pm: Seven minutes to go!

Cloudy cover over Burj Khalifa as visitors await the fireworks show in front of the world's tallest building.


11.50pm: Crowds gather across UAE fireworks venues

Large crowds have begun gathering and holding their spots as its almost time to ring in the New Year.


11.30pm: Half an hour left!

It's almost time to usher in 2024!

Here are some places where you can expect fireworks to take place across the country:

Abu Dhabi

  • Sheikh Zayed Festival
  • Al Maryah Island Promenade
  • Hudayriyat Island

Dubai

  • Burj Khalifa
  • Palm Jumeirah
  • Burj Al Arab
  • Dubai Parks and Resorts
  • Hatta
  • Al Seef
  • Bluewaters
  • The Beach
  • Global Village

Ras Al Khaimah

Stretching across the 4.5km waterfront between Al Marjan Island and Al Hamra Village, the display aims to set new records.


11.15pm: More people rush into Global Village

With less than an hour to go to 2024, Global Village is getting busier by the minute. Long queues could be spotted outside food stalls and toilets across the destination.


11.10pm: Less than an hour to go

With less than one hour left to midnight, Dubai Media Office has shared a stunning video of laser and fountain shows taking place at Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.


11.03pm: Global Village celebrates New Year in Pakistan

The fifth fireworks display at Global Village celebrated New Year in Pakistan.


10.59pm: Sheikh Zayed Festival at full capacity

Sheikh Zayed Festival has closed its doors to all new visitors as it has reached full capacity. The event's management took to X to announce the closure of its entry doors.

It said: "Dear visitors, we would like to draw your attention that we have reached the maximum capacity of the festival, so in order to ensure your safety, we regret to inform you that the entry doors are currently closed. Arriving visitors can head to the outdoor courtyards to watch the celebrations and enjoy the performances on the festival’s outdoor screens."


10.51pm: Burj Khalifa Metro station closed

Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall Metro Station is now closed, the Roads and Transport Authority has announced.

"You can use the Financial Centre, Business Bay, Emirates Towers and World Trade Centre Metro stations to reach your destinations," the authority posted on X.


10.40pm: First NYE in Dubai for these visitors

Lithuanian visitor Victoria and her daughter Aušrinė are spending their first ever NYE in Dubai. “We have been planning to come to the UAE for many years,” said Victoria.

“This year, I realised that I had a few days off so we decided to embark on our dream trip.”

For Aušrinė, Dubai feels like a dream city. “It is almost like an alternative reality where everything is big, bold and in 3-D,” she said. The duo, who caught the first fireworks at Global Village had an ambitious plan. “We are going to head out to another location to see more fireworks. Maybe the Burj Al Arab or Burj Khalifa, depending on where we get a taxi to.”


10.35pm: India says hello to 2024!

KT Photo: M. Sajjad
KT Photo: M. Sajjad

It’s 10.30pm in the UAE and India has brought in the new year. Here at Global Village, Indian expats cheered and clapped as the fireworks display lit up the skies for approximately a minute.


10.30pm: More than an hour-long wait for food

"I have been waiting for 20 minutes to take delivery. It took me 20 minutes to place an order and pay for the food. It seems it will take another 40 minutes at least, if not more, to take the delivery," says Abdul Ghani, an Afghan national and a UAE resident.


10.25pm: Less than two hours to go!

With less than two hours for the New Year to begin, visitors throng festivals and events across the country.

Large crowds can be seen at Sheikh Zayed Festival where there will be 40 minutes of fireworks and a drone show.


10.17pm: Visitors try on keffiyeh at Palestine pavilion

One of the most popular things to do in the Palestine pavilion at Global Village is to buy a keffiyeh and get it draped around the head in true Palestinian style. From youngsters to older adults, several customers opt to do this in solidarity with Gaza.

According to one patron, the Dh50 scarf has been flying off the shelves and they are having to replenish stocks every couple of days.


10.12pm: Fog settles over RAK

Ras Al Khaimah residents are waiting to welcome 2024 in a hazy fog. Earlier today, authorities issued a fog alert over parts of the country, warning motorists about low visibility.


10.03pm: Happy New Year, Bangladesh!

The third set of fireworks just finished at Global Village, as Bangladesh celebrated the new year. Thousands of visitors thronged to the destination to enjoy entertainment programs while shopping and dining.


9.45pm: All hands on deck!

The Dubai Police Resilience Centre dedicates its efforts to enhancing teams' readiness and ensuring maximum security in the New Year's Eve celebrations in Dubai.

The Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief conducted on-site inspections to oversee the efforts to guarantee the comfort and safety of all visitors. Dubai Police has a specialised team comprising around 6,000 security personnel and 1,328 patrols dedicated to securing 32 fireworks sites in Dubai.


9.27pm: Less than three hours to go!

With less than three hours to midnight, residents are gearing up for an exciting celebration with friends and family.

However, some new expats are struggling with loneliness. If you are too, Khaleej Times reached out to mental health experts to help you with solutions.

Read more here:


9.15pm: 30-min long laser show

KT Photo: Shihab
KT Photo: Shihab

Visitors attending the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi enjoyed an electrifying atmosphere with music, dance, cultural performances and parades. The New Year’s Eve celebrations included a first-of-its-kind laser show and a special laser and music show at the Emirates Fountain.

The laser show lasted over 30 minutes and mesmerised the audience with its immersive experience and mind-blowing laser displays.


9.10pm: F&B outlets at full capacity at Sheikh Zayed Festival

Restaurants and cafes are operating at full capacity with long queues in front of all F&B outlets at the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi on the New Year night. Thousands of people - both residents and tourists - have flocked to the festival to watch New Year celebrations.


9.04pm: Happy New Year, Thailand!

Thailand has ushered in the New Year, illuminating the skies above Dubai's Global Village in a dazzling display of fireworks. The breathtaking spectacle marked the second of seven planned fireworks shows at the entertainment destination on this celebratory night.


8.57pm: Magical night for some at Dubai Mall

Watching the fireworks show at Burj Khalifa is magical however, while people are waiting for the stroke of midnight, Filipino magician Chopet Rudel is doing some tricks to keep people – especially the young ones – entertained and amazed.

“New Year’s Eve is my favourite time of the year, the 32-year old trickster, who learned close-up magic since high school, told Khaleej Times.

“People paid a fortune to be here (Dubai Mall waterfront promenade) to wathc the fireworks but seeing people smile is priceless,” added Rudel, who sees himself not only as an entertainer but also an artist.

His wish is for people to have a wonderful year ahead. “We’re starting the New Year with a bang, and I wish everyone good health and happiness whole year round.”


8.50pm: Avoid taking photos while driving, police warn motorists

The Dubai Police, in a series of posts on social media, urged the public to celebrate the New Year’s Eve with responsibility.

The police asked people to plan ahead to arrive at New Year's Eve celebrations early and enjoy the fireworks displays.

“Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions or taking photos while driving,” the police said.

People should make every effort to ensure safety of themselves and that of the children, the police said, emphasising the importance of not allowing children to stick out of windows or sunroofs.

The police also asked people to report any unattended bags or belongings.


8.45pm: Australians enjoy the Burj Al Arab laser show

Dubai, known for its extravagant New Year's Eve celebrations, provided an unforgettable experience for Mohamed Semra and Sufian Mohamed.

These two friends from Melbourne, Australia, made the most of their time, despite their short visit by creating treasured memories amidst the vibrant atmosphere.

Seeking a remarkable New Year's Eve celebration, they chose to spend the evening at Jumeirah Beach. Aware of the potential traffic congestion, they decided to stay closer to the beach rather than venturing downtown.


8.35pm: Best views for $2,000

Witnessing the amazing fireworks at Burj Khalifa is a dream come true for a mother and daughter who came all the way to Dubai for the first time from Iran.

Bahar Tavakooli and her mother, Fatmeh, have been saving money. They paid $2,000 to get one of the best seats at the foot of Burj Khalifa. They arrived at 2pm and they came prepared for the revelry. Bahar is wearing a red Santa suit and her mother has a New Year’s Eve hat.

“With the best view of Burj Khalifa, we will definitely have the best time of our lives,” said the mother and daughter.


8.15pm: UAE President wishes residents on New Year

UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan took to X to say: "As we welcome the new year, let us stand united and pray for peace and progress for all people in the UAE, region, and world".


8.16pm: Unforgettable experience

Leaving the Sydney Harbour fireworks behind, Australians Mohamed Semra and Sufian Mohamed enjoyed a spectacular New Year's Eve laser show at the Burj Al Arab. The city, renowned for its extravagant celebrations, provided an unforgettable experience for the two friends visiting from Melbourne. Despite their brief stay, they seized the opportunity to create lasting memories in the lively atmosphere.

Mohamed and Sufian opted to spend New Year's Eve at Jumeirah Beach, and stayed closer to the beach rather than heading downtown to avoid potential traffic congestion. Mindful of the limited time, especially with Sufian's impending return flight to Melbourne, they were determined to make the most of their New Year's Eve experience.

Their excitement peaked when they learned that the iconic Burj Al Arab would host a mesmerising laser show followed by fireworks at midnight. Eager to witness this spectacular event, they promptly made their way to the beach, ready to embrace the magic of the festivities.

KT Photo: Waad Barakat
KT Photo: Waad Barakat
KT Photo: Waad Barakat
KT Photo: Waad Barakat

8.14pm: Saved for the best view

Witnessing the amazing fireworks at Burj Khalifa will be a dream come true for this mother and daughter duo who travelled all the way from Iran to Dubai for the first time.

Bahar Tavakooli and her mother, Fatmeh, have been saving money for the best - they paid $2,000 to get one of the best seats at the foot of Burj Khalifa. They arrived at 2 pm, ready for the festivities. Bahar wore a vibrant red Santa suit, while her mother added to the celebratory spirit with a New Year's Eve hat.

“With the best view of Burj Khalifa, we will definitely have the best time of our lives,” said the mother and daughter. See the duo below:

KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

8.05pm: Happy New Year, China!

KT Photo: M. Sajjad
KT Photo: M. Sajjad

The first set of fireworks went off at Global Village at 8pm UAE time to celebrate the new year in China. Ahead of the fireworks, performers staged a Chinese dance and counted down.


8pm: What to expect at Sheikh Zayed Festival today

Sheikh Zayed Festival, currently taking place at Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi, is preparing to welcome 2024 with exceptional fireworks displays that will light up the sky over the festival area at midnight, in an event anticipated by viewers.

The festival's annual New Year's Eve celebration programme attracts visitors from abroad to enjoy the shows taking place on this occasion.

They include – in addition to the fireworks display – international folklore and artistic performances, recreational events for visitors, in addition to various events and activities dedicated to children. (Wam)


7.51pm: World starts welcoming New Year with fireworks, prayers and some stark words

Here's how some other places and people around the world were bidding farewell to 2023 and welcoming the New Year.

Sydney - Sydney hailed 2024 with a dazzling fireworks display featuring silver and gold pyrotechnics to mark the 50th anniversary of its famous Opera House.

Vladimir Putin - Russian President Vladimir Putin, facing an election in March, made only passing reference in his New Year address on Sunday to his war in Ukraine, hailing his soldiers as heroes but mostly emphasising unity and shared determination.

Xi Jinping - China's President Xi Jinping, speaking on Sunday in a televised speech to mark the New Year, said the country will consolidate and enhance the positive trend of its economic recovery in 2024, and sustain long-term economic development with deeper reforms.

Kim Jong Un - North Korea vowed to launch three new spy satellites, build military drones, and boost its nuclear arsenal in 2024 as leader Kim Jong Un said US policy is making war inevitable, state media reported on Sunday.

Pope Francis - At his Sunday prayers at the Vatican, Pope Francis said: "I wish everyone a peaceful end of the year, and please do not forget to pray for me".


7.45pm: More road closures announced

The Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai has announced more road closures. It said in a tweet on X, "Closure of Al Mustaqbal St. between the intersection of First Business Bay St. & Trade Centre St."

The authority provided alternative routes: Al Khail Rd. and Al Wasl St.


7.25pm: Global Village festivities come to life

Global Village will be lighting up skies marking seven midnights, depending on different time zones of seven countries.

KT Photos: Shihab
KT Photos: Shihab

7.14pm: Sydney, Auckland first major cities to ring in 2024

Sydney and Auckland have become the world's first major cities to ring in 2024, with more than a million revelers cheering spectacular fireworks displays that lit up the skies over Sydney Harbor and New Zealand’s tallest structure, Sky Tower.

As the clock struck midnight in Australia's largest city, tons of explosives erupted in a 12-minute display that focused on the Sydney Harbor Bridge. More than 1 million people, a number equivalent to one in five of the city's residents, watched from the shore and from boats in the harbour.


7.09pm: Local Emirati culture at Sheikh Zayed Festival

Emirati women in traditional attires showcase local culture at the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi on December 31, 2023.

They also displayed old techniques such as using crochet, wool and other traditional methods to make sweaters, shawls and other items. Due to huge turnout on the New Year Eve, only family are allowed to visit the Festival.


7pm: Security guard's New Year's Eve at Global Village

For security guard Anil Magasi, it is the first NYE at Global Village in his seven years of living in the UAE.

“Usually I go with my friends to the Burj Al Arab area,” he said. “But today I am working here and I am really looking forward to seeing the various fireworks displays.” He said he had been approached several times with questions ranging from location of pavilions to the time of the fireworks.

“When I started, it took me almost a month to figure out all the locations inside Global Village,” he said. “But now, if you wake me up in my sleep, I can tell you the location of the toilets, restaurants and pavilions.”


6.50pm: Dubai Mall closure begins

Police have started closing the exit to Dubai Mall on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Officials' cars can be seen guiding traffic away from the exit.

KT Photo: Nasreen Abdulla
KT Photo: Nasreen Abdulla

6.45pm: Joyful New Year's adventure for friends from Paris

Friends Greg Dao and David Sanchez from Paris embarked on an exhilarating journey to experience Dubai's magical New Year's Eve.

Greg arrived one week ago, filled with excitement, while David, who joined him yesterday, was eager to immerse himself in the festivities.

KT Photo: Waad Barakat
KT Photo: Waad Barakat

With their bicycles in tow, they wasted no time embracing Dubai's warmth and embarked on a cycling adventure along Jumeirah Beach. The stunning shoreline, with crystal-clear waters and golden sands, provided the perfect backdrop for their outdoor escapade.

After an invigorating ride, Greg and David are joining a lively gathering at a friend's house. Amid colourful decorations and shimmering lights, they are eagerly welcoming the new year with laughter, music, and delicious food.

This New Year's adventure was a testament to their friendship and shared joy, as Greg's early arrival allowed him to share his excitement with David, who eagerly embraced the festive spirit.


6.43pm: Prelude to party; laser water shows begin

Burj Khalifa is now playing laser and water show every 30 minutes, in the run-up to the main fireworks show at 12 midnight.

Emaar Properties promises it “will be a seamless integration of technology, artistic excellence, and human ingenuity.”

Aside from the pyrotechnics, around 22,000 gallons of water will also be fired in the air to create an “awe-inspiring blend of water artistry, light, and sound, in sync with Burj Khalifa fireworks.


6.37pm: Another key Dubai road now closed

The Roads and Transport Authority has announced the closure of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd. "Please use alternative roads," the authority tweeted.

The authority had earlier announced the closure of two roads: Burj Khalifa and Al Asayel streets.


6.29pm: Crowds throng Global Village ahead of 7 fireworks shows

People are thronging to Global Village as the whole destination has a festive mood. Several families have already laid down mats in various locations and reserved their spots to watch the fireworks while others are moving from pavilion to pavilion trying to score New Year’s deals.


6.23pm: Traditional Indian drummers wow Abu Dhabi crowd

Chenda Melam, traditional drummers from Kerala, India are seen performing and entertaining guests on New Year's eve at Sheikh Zayed Festival, Abu Dhabi.

KT Photos: Shihab
KT Photos: Shihab

6.15pm: Memorable New Year's Eve at Jumeirah Beach

For two young women, Rogaya Hamid and Nihal Mahmoud, spending their evenings at the Jumeirah Beach near the iconic Burj Al Arab has become a cherished tradition. They are spending the last evening of 2023 here, too.

KT Photo: Waad Barakat
KT Photo: Waad Barakat

Rogaya Hamid, who recently arrived in the UAE, is experiencing her first New Year's Eve in this magnificent country. She is captivated by the infectious energy of the people and the meticulous organisation of the festivities that allow residents and visitors alike to revel in the celebrations.

Jumeirah Beach has become Rogaya and Nihal's favorite spot, and after a long day at work, they frequently visit this picturesque location to unwind and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

Rogaya and Nihal, both employed at the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA), have been friends since the day they met during the interview process. Their shared enthusiasm for exploring the UAE and immersing themselves in its vibrant culture has deepened their bond. Jumeirah Beach has become a place where they can escape the pressures of work and enjoy each other's company.


6.08pm: 'Business first, party later' for these residents

Taking advantage of the brisk sales during New Year’s Eve, Chinese trader Jack Cheng said he will focus first selling his products then party later.

Jack Cheng (KT Photo: Angel Tesorero)
Jack Cheng (KT Photo: Angel Tesorero)

“I always look forward enjoying the fireworks at Burj Khalifa,” said Cheng, who sells lucky charms and novelty items at Dubai Mall’s Chinatown.

He added: “We, Chinese, actually started the tradition of using firecrackers to ward off evil spirits and bring in good luck for the new year.

Cheng said wearing red on New Year’s Eve brings good luck; “the colour boosts up energy and happiness from inside out.”

“Then we share sumptuous meals with family and friends and wish everyone good fortune, prosperity and happiness.”


5.52pm: Global Village visitors grab a karak

Long queues can be found outside most of the restaurants and kiosks in Global Village. Less than two hours after opening, the patron of Karak Cafe said he had already sold “hundreds” of teas.

“I have not had the time to even think about it,” he said, without taking his eyes off the order screen.


5.47pm: Picturesque last sunset of 2023

Visitors and residents across the UAE are witnessing a picturesque sunset. Hues across the sky are changing as the sun sets for the last time in 2023.

Stunning shades of orange are seen streaking across the sky on the last day of 2023. Take a look at these pictures from the Sheikh Zayed Festival:

KT photos: Shihab
KT photos: Shihab

5.41pm: Majlis seating nearly full at Global Village

It isn't even 6pm yet, but the majlis seating area at Global Village is almost full. These seats cost Dh65 per hour and Dh202 for the whole day.

KT Photo: Nasreen Abdulla
KT Photo: Nasreen Abdulla

Seven fireworks shows will light up skies today. From China to Turkey, the distinct New Year's celebrations will take place at the top of each hour, from 8pm until 1am.

KT Photo: M.Sajjad
KT Photo: M.Sajjad

5.35pm: Civil Defence teams stationed across Dubai

Dubai Civil Defence teams are stationed at strategic locations across the emirate and are geared up to safeguard the New Year's Eve festivities.

A dedicated team of over 950 members, backed by a fleet of 120 advanced and diverse vehicles, is ready to cover 32 fireworks.


5.31pm: 'Ready to serve'; some Dubai residents work behind-the-scenes

KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

Karim Salama, operations manager at Tim Horton’s Dubai Mall, said this is the fourth time he will be welcoming the new year working, and away from his family.

“But I have my second family here, Salama told Khaleej Times, pointing to his staff busy preparing the tables for their guests.

“New Year’s Eve is always the busiest time of the year for us and we are always ready and happy to serve our customers. What more can they ask for? We provide them the best services and at the stroke of midnight, they will experience the most spectacular show on Earth to welcome 2024,” he added.


5.25pm: Updated timings for Dubai parks

Heading to a park with family for New Year's Eve? If you're in Dubai, make sure you check out the updated timings for the holiday!


5.21pm: 5,000 drones all set to break record; watch video

Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Festival is putting on an NYE show that will combine fireworks, dancing drones and a laser show.

Over 5,000 drones will take off into the night sky to display “intricate patterns”, while setting a “new record in the Middle East”.

Organisers shared a behind-the-scenes video of the preparations for the show:


5.15pm: Dubai leaders wish residents ahead of New Year

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai has congratulated residents on the New Year.

He welcomed "the new year to be a year of work, hope, preparation and achievement".

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai has put out a tweet on X, welcoming the New Year.

He spoke of striding "forward towards a brighter future, aspiring to establish Dubai and the UAE as a shining model of spreading joy and positivity to all".


5.10pm: New Zealand welcomes 2024 with a bang

Auckland has become the first major city to ring in 2024, with thousands cheering a fireworks display sprouting from New Zealand’s tallest structure, Sky Tower, and a downtown light show.

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

5.02pm: Traditional performances begin

Traditional performers are seen entertaining the major crowd on New Year's eve at Sheikh Zayed Festival.

KT photos: Shihab
KT photos: Shihab

4.55pm: New Year's Eve in UAE LIVE:

With Dubai's Global Village hosting seven midnight celebrations to mark the New Year in seven time zones around the world, thousands of people have chosen the multicultural park to ring in 2024. With several hours to go till midnight in the UAE, the traffic to the Global Village is getting intense as can be seen from the photos below:

KT Photo: M.Sajjad
KT Photo: M.Sajjad

4.45pm: Overcast skies in Dubai

KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

An overcast sky can be seen above the Burj Khalifa, however we hope this will not dampen spirits ahead of the wonderful fireworks show tonight.

There is a chance of light rain - more like a drizzle - is the weather forecast by the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) for tonight.

Dubai residents and visitors may experience dense cloud cover with chances of a drizzle in the evening.

"We foresee that the weather in general will be fair to cloudy… This might be associated with lightning. There are chances of light rain…more like a drizzle,” NCM told Khaleej Times earlier.


4.39pm: Thousands of revellers use public transport to beat NYE traffic

Thousands of residents and tourists are heeding to the authorities' appeal to use public transport to get to their venues. The Dubai Metro and Tram not only help revellers reach on time, but also avoid the NYE rush.

Here, the Dubai Tram can be seen crowded than usual:


4.30pm: Families rushing in to venues

The crowd is beginning to build at the Sheikh Zayed Festival, with families and visitors steadily streaming in. 7-year-old Kashif Aman excitedly blows bubbles with his toy, eagerly anticipating the spectacular show scheduled for tonight.

KT photos: Shihab
KT photos: Shihab

The New Year's Eve celebrations are set to dazzle with a lineup of shows, folkloric performances, and international events.


4.25pm: People rushing over

As the country prepares to usher in 2024, thoroughfares experience significant congestion as residents hurry to reach their destinations and join in the festivities with their loved ones. Watch this video by KT photographer M. Sajjad below:


4.16pm: Early revellers from Panama

KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

For the past couple of months, the Tovio family from Panama has been planning to have a spectacular New Year’s Eve. And now, they’re at the foot of the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, ready to usher in 2024 with a bang.

They were so excited that they have taken their seats as early as 2pm at the restaurant they’ve booked months ago.

This is the first time that Eduardo Tovio (father), Leydi Rodriguez (mother) and Andrea Tovio (daughter) are visiting Dubai and they have one adjective to describe the city: "Espectacular”.

They started their day with a visit At The Top, Burj Khalifa; enjoyed a panoramic view of the city from 1,821 feet; and relished in the multimedia experience learning the creation of Burj Khalifa and the history of Dubai.

It will be another eight hours before they can witness the spectacular Burj Khalifa show in all its glory, but they say that it's worth the wait.

They're already making plans to come back next year.


4.09pm: Key Dubai roads closed

The Roads and Transport Authority has announced the closure of Al Asayel and Burj Khalifa streets. "To reach your destination easily, please use alternative roads," the authority posted on X.

The Dubai Police had said earlier that they would start closing roads for New Year celebrations from 4pm.


4.05pm: How Dubai prepared for its epic NYE show

Dubai's NYE celebrations are the stuff of legends. But do you know the intense planning that goes into it?

This year, exactly 11,972 personnel, including 5,574 police officers and 1,525 patrols, civil defence and ambulance vehicles, will ensure a safe start to 2024 for the thousands of people celebrating in Dubai.

About 55 government and private entities in Dubai came together to plan the fireworks and shows that will light up 32 locations across Dubai, including the Burj Khalifa, The Beach, Bluewaters (JBR), Palm Jumeirah and Kite Beach, among others.


4.03pm: Traffic in Dubai begins to build up

KT Photo: Nasreen Abdulla
KT Photo: Nasreen Abdulla

Traffic towards the Dubai Mall exit on Sheikh Zayed Road is beginning to build up even though the New Year is more than 8 hours away.

Police patrols are already on site to monitor the situation. Road closures around the Dubai Mall area have begun as part of crowd control measures.


4pm: We're at the Sheikh Zayed Festival! Are you here too?

KT Photo: Shihab
KT Photo: Shihab

The New Year is still eight hours away, but that has not stopped people from turning up at their venues. Here are scenes from Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Festival, which will ring in 2024 with 40 minutes of fireworks:

KT Photo: Shihab
KT Photo: Shihab
KT Photo: Shihab
KT Photo: Shihab

ALSO READ:


More news from New Year 2024