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Grand celebrations herald a brand new decade in UAE

Filed on December 31, 2019 | Last updated on December 31, 2019 at 09.34 pm
Grand, celebrations, herald, brand new, decade, UAE, Burj Khalifa,  fireworks, Dubai Mall, Burj Park, NYE

(Photo by Nilanjana Gupta/Khaleej Times)

Global Village on NYE illustrated the vibrant cultural melting point that is Dubai.

Partying in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa

Unlike past years, people only started to come in droves to The Dubai Mall to watch the iconic Burj Khalifa fireworks and laser light display after sunset. Those who made reservations at restaurants around the mall's promenade came to their tables beginning 7pm, with many of them wearing New Year top hats, crowns and tiaras while some kids were carrying horns and trumpets.

Traffic around The Dubai Mall was still moderate by 4pm but bottlenecks started building up at various entrances leading to the mall. By 6pm, Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Financial Centre and Al Sokouk roads were closed.

But it was a different scene at the other side of the Fountain View, at Burj Park, where families and groups of friends started filling in the spaces by early afternoon.

UAE residents and tourists from around the world came to witness the annual spectacle, which organisers say grows "bigger, better and brighter" every year.

Friends Umii Khan, 28, Haroon Humayon, 27, Farhad Humayon, 22, and Saad Khan, 24, arrived in Dubai from Toronto, Canada, two days ago just to witness the spectacular fireworks and laser show.

"We've been in Dubai a couple of times before but this was the first time we came here to watch the fireworks in person. We're thrilled and excited to welcome 2020 in the company of friends; and to see so many people of various nationalities converging in one place to welcome the turn of the year was simply magnificent," the four friends told Khaleej Times.

Seven times the fun at Global Village

Global Village on NYE illustrated the vibrant cultural melting point that is Dubai. Thousands of people of various nationalities, religions, ages and walks of life united at the festival park to usher in the next decade with seven dazzling fireworks marking midnight in seven different time zones. Families started arriving in huge numbers as soon as the gates opened at 4pm and set up camp to get the best view of the fireworks show.

The entry is usually free for children aged below three, but for NYE, Global Village offered free entry to every child under 7, making it a popular choice for families. At 8pm, the park rang in the New Year in the Philippines, partied with Thailand at 9pm. At 10pm it was the turn of Kyrgyztan, India at 10.30pm, Pakistan at 11pm and of course, at 12am, the crowd erupted in applause as the UAE welcomed 2020. The celebration didn't stop there because at 1am there was a final show for Turkey.

Global Village also offered seven holiday packages to seven lucky families, making the celebration an everlasting memory for many.

Camping for the last time in 2019 in Jumeirah

Crowds started to build up at Jumeirah public beach next to Burj Al Arab as early as 4pm. With the wind speed increasing and the sea looking a bit rough, around 15 lifeguards were seen patrolling the beach as more and more families spread out their mats and camped out.

Surrounded by large beach blankets, beach chairs and food, Indian expats and friends Divya, Sindhu, Sharanya and Reshma had set up their camp on the beach early to get a front-row seat of the fireworks. Calling it one of the best fireworks across the city, the four friends said nothing could look more beautiful than a colourful display of fireworks reflect in the waters of the Arabian Sea with the hotel's distinct architecture in the backdrop.

Compared to Downtown Dubai, traffic was smooth and crowds manageable - offering a peaceful atmosphere and a perfect transition into the new year.

Al Majaz Waterfront basks in 10 minutes of dazzle

Al Majaz Waterfront welcomed the new year with a 10-minute long fireworks spectacle that lit up the skies over Sharjah. The venue's waterfront and walkways saw thousands of people assemble early on to enjoy the celebrations. Residents and visitors of all age groups and nationalities gathered to watch the fireworks that were launched from 16 barges on Khalid Lagoon.

Mohamed Latif, a resident, went to the venue at 4pm with his family to ensure they got the "perfect spot to watch the fun".

Jeffery smith, another resident, said this is the fourth year straight he had come to the venue to celebrate the new year. "The fireworks were spectacular. It is so much more fun here."

We welcomed new year with Bruno Mars at Du Arena

With five hours to go before the countdown to the new year, Du Arena in Abu Dhabi was brimming with action. Die-hard Bruno Mars fans started thronging the venue as early as 6.30pm for the R&B star's live show. The mood was upbeat as youngsters and families arrived wearing caps and gears with 2020 wishes. The iconic venue has hosted the likes of Pink, Cold Play, Katy Perry and Eminem, among others previously.

"We live Bruno Mars. There is no better way to ring in 2020," said Juliette Rachel, a student from Abu Dhabi.

Her friends Dona said she was at Du Arena to listen to Bruno Mars sing 'Just the way you are.' "I want to find love in 2020 and ever since I heard this song, I wanted to watch Bruno Mars perform live.'"

Peace, prosperity, happiness and love topped the wishlist of many expats.

Family time at Abu Dhabi Corniche

There was a sense of urgency on Abu Dhabi roads about 12 hours before the NYE bash. Though there were no bottlenecks, motorists were rushing home to catch up with family and friends and get ready to welcome the new year.

"I was back from work early to avoid the rush hour traffic," said Satish Xavier, a sales executive working in Mussafah. "My family and I will catch up with friends and review the past 365 days and share plans for next year."

Madhav Rana, another resident, said: "Our initial plan was a road trip and stay in Al Ain but we will now head to the Corniche."

Despite splendid events at Al Maryah and Yas islands, Corniche continued to be the favourite hangout spot for families. Hundreds gathered as the night grew older.

"I hope for a blessed year for everyone. I just pray for continuity in life," Deepa Malik, a homemaker, said.

Reporting by Angel Tesorero, Nilanjana Gupta, Saman Haziq, Afkar Abdullah, Ashwani Kumar and Anjana Sankar.


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