Chinese New Year in Dubai: Thousands of expats welcome Year of the Rabbit in grand parade

Rhythms, beats, and traditional dances — along with Chinese dragons and pandas — brought the smart city to life with an East Asian vibe


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Photos by SM Ayaz Zakir
Photos by SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sat 14 Jan 2023, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 14 Jan 2023, 8:29 PM

Dragons, pandas, 'monks', and a rabbit mascot paraded at Expo City Dubai on Saturday in the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations outside China.

Chinese expat Jasmine Li came with her children, who had been reminding her of the grand event every day since the January 14 date was announced.

“We arrived here at 2 pm, and my children were very excited. It feels great to witness such a massive crowd, people from different countries coming together to celebrate Chinese New Year," said Li, who has been living in Dubai for the past three years.

This Lunar New Year marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit for the community. It officially begins on January 22.

It was, indeed, a red-letter day for the expats — with red lanterns, fans, Chinese knots, and adorable dancers in Mandarin gowns dotting the streets and the Spring Festival Bazaar. There were rhythms, beats, and traditional dances at the China Pavilion, bringing the smart city to life with an East Asian vibe.

Thousands of residents joined the grand parade, with some wearing panda costumes and others holding up two giant Chinese dragons.

Besides cultural symbols and floats, the community also brought out made-in-China electric vehicles, a national product they are proud of.

After the parade, which covered two kilometres, the crowd was ushered to Al Wasl Dome. Chinese band Ma Bang — which fuses indigenous culture with other traditions and contemporary music — entertained the revellers.

“The beginning of a new year marks a new start. In a week, we will be celebrating the traditional Chinese New Year. On behalf of the Consulate-General of China in Dubai, I would like to wish you all a happy New Year, prosperity, smooth work, and good health, and may the China-UAE friendship last forever,” said Li Xuhang, Consul-General of China in Dubai.

“The cultures of China and the UAE highlight each other, and the China-UAE friendship is strengthened. In Dubai, a land of miracles, we once again celebrated the Chinese New Year in the grandest way,” added Zhang Yiming, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE.

The parade was organised by the Chinese Embassy in the UAE; the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai; Hala China; and supported by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with Expo City Dubai as a strategic partner.

The event was also attended by Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE's Minister of State for International Cooperation and chief executive of Expo City Authority; Gao Zheng, director-general of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China; Mohammed Saeed Al Marzouki, acting CEO of Hala China; and Manal AlBayat, chief engagement, Expo 2020 Dubai.


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