The UAE ended 2020 with a bang. Literally. About 33 fireworks shows lit up the skies simultaneously as the clock struck 12 and ushered in the New Year 2021.
Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba hosted a 35-minute fireworks show that is set to smash two world records.
Dubai's Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and the Dubai Frame; Sharjah's Al Majaz Waterfront; Ras Al Khaimah's Al Marjan Island; Ajman's Corniche; and Fujairah's Corniche put up spectacular shows that will light up the memories of revellers for years to come.
Here is how the socially distanced celebrations unfolded as chronicled by Khaleej Times reporters and multimedia journalists.
Burj Khalifa with the Khaleej Times crew as we bring to you the fireworks and light show live from the venue to ring in New Year 2020.
Abu Dhabi's record-breaking 35-min fireworks show was like a dream
“This is like a dream come true,” said six-year-old Maheen after the Sheikh Zayed Festival’s record-breaking fireworks show in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba. Touted as the biggest-ever New Year party in the country, the event lived up to its billing and exceeded expectations with a heavy-duty dose of entertainment.
The world’s first-ever Girandola fireworks show and the largest straight-line display, filled citizens and residents with fresh hope and optimism. All that packed in a 35-minute long spectacle.
New Year fireworks at the Global Village. Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Spectacular fireworks at Jumeirah beach. Photo by Shihab
Fireworks at The Dubai Frame. Photo by Muhammad Mustafa Khan
Sharjah fireworks at Al Majaz Waterfront. - Photo by M.Sajjad
New Year 2021 UAE: 8,500kg of fireworks lights up Ras Al Khaimah
The Ras Al Khaimah New Year’s Eve Celebrations dazzled the world with a 10-minute fireworks show that underlined the UAE’s message of hope, peace and achievements.
Dubai Police chief inspects Burj Khalifa security preparations
'This is the most beautiful place to be,' says British family of 15
Dubai fireworks ring in Pakistan's New Year 2021
Fireworks lit up the night sky over Dubai's Global Village as Pakistan ushered in the New Year 2021.
Burj Khalifa wishes Pakistan a Happy New Year 2021
The Burj Khalifa has lit up in Pakistani colours as the country ushered in the New Year 2021.
Kiss performs live at Atlantis, The Palm
Join us as we build up to the New Year's Eve gala at Downtown Dubai. Fireworks are set to light up the entire city at 33 different locations in the UAE.
Dubai fireworks ring in India's New Year 2021
Fireworks lit up the night sky over Dubai's Global Village as India ushered in the New Year 2020. Dubai's Global Village also lit up in Indian colours.
Burj Khalifa lights up as India rings in New Year 2021
Dubai's Burj Khalifa lit up in Indian colours as India ushered in the New Year 2021.
New Year at Global Village: An aerial view
KISS performs live at Atlantis, The Palm
Join us as we build up to the New Year's Eve gala at Downtown Dubai. Fireworks are set to light up the entire city at 33 different locations in the UAE
All entrances to Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard closed
The Dubai Police have alerted motorists that all entrances to the Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard have been closed.
Earlier, the police had said that the Lower Financial Centre Road and Al Asayel Streets were closed.
An array of entertainment activities are keeping the visitors busy at Al Seef. First up, Emiratis treated the crowd to the traditional Arabic dance called the ‘Al Ayala.’
- James Jose
Families wait to watch the spectacular fireworks at the Jumeirah beach on New Year's eve. - Photo by Shihab
Happy New Year, Philippines!
“The Philippines just celebrated the New Year. I would like to wish all my Kababayans a wonderful year, a year filled with love and happiness. I’ve lived in Bur Dubai for five years now and I’ve been coming here since Al Seef opened. I prefer coming here to witness the fireworks rather than going to Downtown to watch it at Burj Khalifa because it is too crowded out there. Al Seef has a charm of its own," says Honey Margaret Gapulao, 29
- James Jose
3 hours to go; all safety checks done
Brig. Rashid Khalifa Al Falasi, Assistant Director General of the Dubai Civil Defence for Fire and Rescue Affairs, has visited Downtown Dubai to check preparations to secure the grand NYE event. The Burj Khalifa fireworks and the 32 others happening around the UAE will dazzle the world in less than three hours!
World's longest ambulance in Dubai serves Downtown revellers
The world’s longest ambulance has been stationed in Downtown Dubai. Paramedics on board are offering emergency services to New Year’s Eve revellers who may need it. The Government of Dubai Media Office has tweeted photos of the ambulance.
A gravity space man, roller skate girls, and Mr Dripping ME DubME DubaiAtrium by Zaha Hadid in Business Bay, in the heart of Burj Khalifa district.
The Dubai Police have shared a video that shows how they are managing traffic and ensuring Covid safety measures in Downtown Dubai. Have a look:
Let the virtual parties begin: A woman at a restaurant in Dubai makes sure her mum gets to be part of the celebrations via video call. The elderly and people with chronic diseases have been advised to stay home to stay safe this NYE. - Photo by Neeraj Murali
A Cappy New Year! For Filipino residentin Dubai Jay Burce, the New Year 2021 will be different. He is all set to usher in the New Year at the Global Village with this innovative cap. Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
LIVE: 3 hours to 2021. We are in Downdown Dubai counting down to tonight's midnight fireworks from Burj Khalifa
5-minute fireworks show to light up Al Ain Square
If you’re in Al Ain and still can’t decide where to watch the fireworks in a few hours, here’s the good news: A five-minute spectacle will light up the skies at Al Ain Square in the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium area at midnight.
Those who are heading to the venue are urged to follow all safety measures, the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office tweeted. Wear your face mask at all times and participate in events only with your family, it added.
Crowds should be avoided and maintain the safe distance of two meters from others. If you are unwell, it is best to stay home.
Another key Dubai road closed, alternative routes announced
The Lower Financial Centre Road is now closed, the Dubai Police have tweeted. The Roads and Transport Authority has specified alternative routes that motorists can take: First Business Bay St., Al Meydan St., 2nd Za'abeel Rd., and Latifa Bint Hamdan St.
Earlier in the day, Al Asayel Street was closed.
Look: Dubai doctors on e-scooters around Burj Khalifa
Paramedics stationed around the Burj Khalifa are using environment-friendly electric scooters to provide emergency assistance to those who may need it.
The Government of Dubai Media Office has posted photos of the paramedics doing their job ahead of the spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks show.
Live from Palm Jumeirah as the nation is awaiting the celebrations to ring in the new year
Final camping session of 2020: With four hours to go to ring in the New Year 2021, Dubai resident Sarath Babu and his family are all cozy in their tent on the Jumeirah Beach. They will ring in the New Year as the Burj Khalifa fireworks light up the night sky. - Photo by Shihab
BurjKhalifa wishes Happy NewY ear to countries where it is 2021 already
Dubai's first NYE fireworks usher in 2021 in China
Dubai's Global Village has just hosted the UAE's first fireworks show. The display at 8pm ushered in the New Year 2021 in China. The destination will host six more fireworks until 1am on January 1 to celebrate the New Year in six time zones.
Another key Dubai road closed
The Lower Financial Centre Road is now closed, the Dubai Police have tweeted. Earlier in the day, Al Asayel Street was closed.
Hundreds of citizens and residents continue to reach the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba for New Year celebrations and catch the world-record smashing fireworks show. - Photo by Ashwani Kumar
We are so looking forward to 2021: KHDA
Check out the Knowledge and Human Development Authority's hilarious (and inspiring) New Year tweet
3 field hospitals around Burj Khalifa to keep you safe
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has set up three field hospitals and deployed “several” medical teams in Downtown Dubai to ensure safety during the New Year’s Eve (NYE) celebrations. Over 55 medical staff have been deployed at these field hospitals. Read about it here
Atlantis, The Palm testing lights preparing for KISS meanwhile inside the restaurants are starting get busy with keen residents and tourists ready to bring on 2021. - Photo: Mitchell Finlayson (Intern)
Burj Khalifa lights up with '2021' - Photo by Neeraj Murali
Live from Umm Suquiem park where people have spread their picnic mats and have put up their tents to watch the fireworks withh he their loved ones at the backdrop of Burk Al Arab hotel.
Traffic builds up on Jumeirah Road. Photo by Shihab/KT
5 hours to go; 33 UAE spots set for fireworks
Did you know that fireworks will light up UAE skies from 33 locations across six emirates? Read about it here.
5 hours to go for 2021: A family is all set for the NYE Burj Al Arab fireworks show that will end 2020 and usher in the new year 2021. — Photo: Shihab
Pakistani expat excited to mark first NYE in Dubai
Pakistani national Azba Juzer is excited about marking her first New Year in Dubai.
Gazing at the iconic Burj Al Arab, an excited Azba said: “This is probably the best time of the year for us as the weather is perfect. We feel lucky to be in the UAE ... as we are able to move around freely.
"I am looking forward to the fireworks that take place here near the Burj Al Arab, as I’ve heard it is one of the best in the city.”
- Reporting: Saman; Photo: Shihab
Khaleej Times journalists are at Al Seef as we build up to the New Year's Eve Gala in Downtown Dubai with Burj Khalifa fireworks at midnight.
Historic Dubai district all set for 3-min fireworks show
As the sun set over us for the final time in 2020, here we are at Al Seef in old Dubai, a place so steeped in history.
Dubai’s popular waterfront promenade, will host a three-minute dazzling fireworks display, at midnight, to delight New Year’s Eve revelers.
- James Jose
NYE vibes at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah
Live from beach next to Burj Al Arab where crowd is building up to watch the spectacular fireworks
New year 2021: UAE's last sunset of the decade
As the UAE gets ready to host spectacular fireworks and events to ring in the new year 2021, an orange glow has taken over the skies. The country has just witnessed its last sunset of the year 2020 and the decade. Have a look:
It’s half past five, lovely weather and with the sun about to set, the crowd is building up. People are carrying chairs, water bottles, jackets, snacks, tea and stuff to enjoy a wonderful evening in the picturesque Global Village.
750-strong team all set to clean up the city
The Dubai Municipality has set up a special team to clean the emirate up after New Year's Eve (NYE) celebrations. About 500 cleaners and 250 volunteers will be stationed across the city.
Abu Dhabi set for 35-minute fireworks show
Residents and flocking to the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba. Those who haven’t booked the Dh5 entry ticket can buy one on the site. Multiple layers of security checks are in place to ensure Covid safety measures.
Apart from the highlight — a 35-minute record-breaking fireworks display — there are several other activities, including pavilions of different countries, fountain shows, activities for children, exhibitions highlighting the UAE culture and heritage, and more. -
- Ashwani Kumar
No place like Dubai: Youngsters Rehan, Fatima, Dua and Subhan — aged 12, 10, 9 and 5 respectively — strike a masked pose — with some equally cute bears to boot! Hailing from Lahore, Pakistan, the kids are in town to ring in the New Year along with their parents. Photo by Juidin Bernarrd/KT
Burj Khalifa Metro Station is now closed
The Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro Station has been closed. "Please use the Financial Centre and Business Bay Metro Stations to reach Burj Khalifa area," the RTA tweeted.
The station will remain closed till 6am on Friday, January 1, 2021.
The Metro will run non-stop till 1am on January 2.
NYEwithKT: Khaleej Times journalists are in Downdown Dubai counting down to tonight's midnight fireworks from Burj Khalifa
One for the 'gram: Make sure to reserve your spot on this celebration street. With golden arches that will light up after sunset, it's definitely one of the most instagrammable locations at the village — aka the place to be. - Photo by Juidin Bernarrd/KT
Taste of the world: A new street food dining concept showcasing delectable treats from around the world has been introduced at Global Village this year. There's no need to ring in the New Year on an empty stomach! - Photo by Juidin Bernarrd/KT
About 3 hours to go for first Global Village fireworks
Dubai's Global Village opened its doors at 4pm. Residents were seen queuing up outside the venue well before that. And they have good reason to, for the destination will host seven fireworks shows to ring in the New Year in seven time zones. The first show will light up the Dubai skies at 8pm.
Kids and families are excited to spend their New Year's Eve here at the Global Village.
The weather is lovely and breezy. If you are still wondering what to do, this is the place to be!
— Suneeti Kohli Ahuja, Photos by Juidin Bernarrd
The future is bright: Nine-year-old Jasmine El Founti flies a kite at Jumeirah Beach as the sun sets on Dubai on New Year's Eve. The youngster and her parents are waiting in eager anticipation of the fireworks display that will soon light up the night skies. Photo by Shihab
A socially distanced selfie: Kids at Global Village are all masked up as they click a selfie. UAE residents, take note, that's how you should usher in the New Year 2021 safely. Photo by Juidin Bernarrd/KT
That's one way to beat NYE traffic: Dubai residents Liya and Xavier will cycle their way from Jumeirah to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks. - Photo by Shihab
Keep kids safe: Dubai Police
The Dubai Police have issued an advisory, reminding residents to keep their children safe during the New Year celebrations. "A night filled with joy and excitement, particularly for children," they tweeted. "Make sure to keep your children safe in public and crowded places."
Less than 8 hours to go for Burj Khalifa fireworks
Burj Khalifa will shine with its New Year's Eve fireworks and laser show in less than eight hours.
Key Dubai road closed, alternative routes announced
Al Asayel Road leading to the Burj Khalifa is now closed, the police have announced. It will now be used as a lane for buses and emergency vehicles.
The RTA has listed alternative roads that motorists can use: Al Khail Rd., Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Rd., Al Wasl St., Jumeirah Rd and Sheikh Zayed Rd.
Check out the timings of other road closures:
Dubai Frame all set for grand fireworks show
The Dubai Municipality has tweeted a video showing the final preparations at the Dubai Frame that is all set to host a spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks show.
A resident books a spot for his family at a vantage point on Jumeirah beach to catch the Burj Al Arab fireworks. — Photo by Shihab
Traffic builds up on key Abu Dhabi streets
Abu Dhabi residents are seen making a dash to their homes — a familiar scene on a Thursday evening — but today the occasion is different: It’s the New Year’s Eve.
Both the high-capacity arterial roads — Sultan bin Zayed the First Street (Muroor Road) and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street (Old Airport Road) — are getting busier.
The main action in Abu Dhabi City is expected on the Corniche stretch. By 5pm, people will be grabbing the best spots on the beaches and parks to catch the last sunset of the year and fireworks show to welcome 2021.
By Ashwani Kumar
Have at least Dh15 balance in your Nol card
The Roads and Transport Authority has advised revellers to keep their wallets at home and instead carry their Nol cards "to travel easily across #Dubai and reach the celebration venue". "We advise you to keep a nol card balance of at least AED 15," the authority tweeted.
An apt reminder for revellers to maintain a safe social distance in Downtown Dubai. — Photo: Rahul Gajjar
Traffic jam on MBZ Road towards Sharjah
Excitement is building up as we are nearing the end of this unusual year 2020, and we can see it on the roads. Office-goers are seemingly rushing home to be in time to celebrate or just be with their loved ones as we ring in the new year.
The stretch on the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road from near International City intersection towards Mirdiff Mall and Sharjah is getting busy. There is heavy flow of cars and other vehicles.
The traffic in the opposite direction on the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road towards Global Village is fairly smooth as of now. Around 500 cars already outside in the parking lot of Global Village waiting for tonight's show.
Global Village will open its doors at 4pm and will be putting up a spectacular show of fireworks that coincides with the time zones of seven countries, starting with China at 8pm; followed by Thailand at 9pm; Bangladesh at 10pm; India at 10.30pm; Pakistan at 11pm; UAE at 12 midnight; and the final show at 1am when Moscow, Russia, rings in the new year.
— Suneeti Ahuja-Kohli and Mitchell Finlayson/KT Intern
Key Dubai roads to be shut soon
Remember, roads leading to the Burj Khalifa will be shut in an hour. Here are the road closure timings:
Dubai Metro advisory issued
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is expecting Metro stations and cabins to be crowded with revellers. The authority has issued an advisory, asking commuters to adhere to all Covid safety precautions so that they can ring in the new year safely.
Mask up at all times: Dubai Police
The Dubai Police have reminded residents to commit to all safety precautions.
Dubai authorities will keep you safe
The Dubai Police have tweeted a video that shows the measures put in place in Downtown Dubai to keep revellers safe.
Arrive early, revellers told
The Dubai Police have reminded residents to arrive at their celebration venues early on.
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