1.2 tonnes of fireworks: How Dubai lights up for a month with colourful, fiery shows

Did you know the shows have themes? Official takes us behind the scenes of ‘fireworks nights’ that will now move to Bluewaters and The Beach


Sahim Salim

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Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 6:32 PM

Bright and colourful fireworks have been lighting up nights in Dubai since December 15 last year, with the spectacular pyrotechnics set to continue till January 14. Held as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), the month-long ‘fireworks nights’ is a series of displays that unfolds at four locations. After Dubai Festival City, Hatta and Al Seef, the show will move to Bluewaters and The Beach, JBR, from January 5 to 14.

Tourists and residents stop whatever they are doing to look up at the skies in awe as the show paints the night into a colourful, fiery spectacle. But do you know what goes into putting up the stunning show every evening?

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Approximately 1.2 tonnes of fireworks are used for the month-long displays, according to Al Zarooni Group — which presents the shows. The main type of fireworks used are aerial shells that burst in the sky and create stunning spherical effects.

“There are also several other types of fireworks materials that we use in a show - they are more commonly Roman candles, single shot candles, mines, comets, box sets candles and combinations, all of which are mainly for lower height effects,” Nisreen Boustani, PR and corporate communication manager, Mercato and Town Centre Jumeirah, told Khaleej Times. Al Zarooni Group is the parent company of the two shopping malls.

Themes, stories

The displays have themes that are based on the venues. “For example, Al Seef which is more traditional and has a long history, requires more traditional colours and effects that bring out the distinct architecture of this location,” Boustani said.

Going behind the scenes

About nine highly-skilled technicians licensed by the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA) are involved in presenting the shows. They form three teams that are involved in operations throughout the season.

“We use sophisticated state-of-the-art software to design and programme the show. The designs are based on the needs of each individual location and take into consideration the required safety and security measures,” she added.

Each of the technicians are involved in all the shows in one way or the other to make sure all goes well as planned and the strictest safety and security protocols are followed.

Fireworks materials are stored in Dubai Police-controlled storages and are usually taken to each destination a day prior to the show.

How the fireworks are shipped to Dubai

The materials are mainly brought in from China – “the birthplace of fireworks”. They reach here through containers via sea.

“The process to bring in fireworks containers is extremely difficult given the nature of the product and the safety and security measures required. It often takes at least three months from placing an order to reach us here in Dubai,” said Boustani.

The preparation to host the show usually begins three to four months before DSF. “Preparations include coordination within the teams, venues, and related authorities, along with allocation of materials, equipment, staff and vehicles that will be utilised during the entire season. The permits and approvals are obtained from all related authorities two weeks prior to the shows, while the equipment setup and layouts are completed three to four days before the show.”


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