30 unmissable events at Expo 2020 Dubai

With just 30 days to go before the launch, we take a look at everything from daily parades to nightly concerts

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After a spectacular opening ceremony on September 30, Expo 2020 Dubai will open its doors to the public on October 1.

The hotly anticipated six-month event is expected to attract millions of visitors before it draws to a close on March 31, 2022.

While the 190-plus pavilions will be chief among the attractions for people who visit the Dubai South site, Expo 2020 will stage hundreds of events over the course of the 182 days.

Every morning from October 1, thousands of students from schools in the UAE will put on song and dance shows in Al Wasl dome, the centrepiece of the entire site.

In the afternoons, visitors can watch international choirs and dance troupes as part of a Music in the Garden series at the dome.

Each evening, live entertainment from international artistes will include opera, ballet and theatre.

Here, The National takes a look at the Expo 2020 calendar and picks out some events that you might want to put on your must-visit list.

Parade – Colours of the World

When: 12.45pm, daily

If you’re planning a day-trip to Expo 2020, make sure to get along for the daily Colours of the World parade at Ghaf Avenue. Each country will have a national or honour-day celebration during the six months of the event and they will treat audiences to a unique cultural fusion experience.


When: nightly, from October 1

Kaleidoscope will wow crowds with spectacular light projections each night, using light sculptures, art projections and installations to illuminate buildings in different hues on every night of the six-month event.

Late nights @ Expo

When: 10.30pm, Thursdays and Fridays on the Jubilee Stage

Expo 2020 Dubai will connect artists and people from around the world on the Jubilee Stage.

France National Day

When: Saturday, October 2

The first national day to be celebrated at Expo will be France. During the day, there will be street entertainers, performers, clowns and stilt walkers to entertain the crowds, while later in the evening you can expect a strong French influence at the Late Nights at Expo on the Jubilee Stage.

Expo Space Week

When: October 17-23

Expo Space Week will be all about exploring new frontiers, the Red Planet, space pioneers and applying space lessons to fight climate change.

Firdaus Orchestra

When: Saturday, October 23 (plus other dates)

Oscar and Grammy-winning musician AR Rahman put together an all-female line-up from the Arab world to create the Firdaus Orchestra. The ensemble received training from the renowned composer, who has sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide.

Expo’s in-house orchestra will perform at numerous events during Expo, including International Women’s Day on March 8.

Harlem Globetrotters

When: Friday October 29 and Saturday October 30

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters will entertain audiences at Expo over two days, with fan interaction, ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks and some comedy thrown in too.


When: Sunday, October 31

Halloween, which dates from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, was celebrated more than 2,000 years ago by the Irish and Scottish.

Ireland will host the Samhain Gaelic Festival at the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre with a special performance by Siamsa Tire, an Irish folk theatre group.

Poland National Day

When: Thursday, November 11

Poland will celebrate its national day with a special Frederic Chopin piano concert at its pavilion.

World Chess Championship

When: November 24 to December 16

The FIDE World Chess Championship, postponed from 2020, will be held at Expo 2020 Dubai, where champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway will defend his title. The game’s finest grandmasters will compete for a prize fund of Dh9 million ($2.45 million).

US National Day

When: Sunday, November 28

Fourth of July is the traditional national holiday for the US, but because it falls outside the Expo calendar, it will be marked on November 28.

UAE National Day

When: Thursday, December 2

During November, Expo will host the UAE Golden Jubilee celebrations, building up to national day itself on December 2, when it is planned to host a special event.

International Arabic language day

When: Saturday, December 18

Expo 2020 will celebrate International Arabic language day with events throughout the day, rounded off with a music event at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

Italy National Day

When: Wednesday, November 24

Italy will mark its national day – held each year on June 2 – in November with special events at its spectacular pavilion, which features a life-size model of Michelangelo’s David.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

When: Friday, December 3

Expo will host three special events to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

GMA Variety Show

When: Friday, December 3

Filipino broadcaster GMA will host a variety show at Jubilee Park. The Philippines will also celebrate its national day on Friday February 11.


When: December 20-25

Expo will host festive celebrations in the lead-up to Christmas Day on December 25.

Book reading under the stars

When: Friday, December 24

Sri Lanka will host a book reading under the stars event for children on December 24.

New Year’s Eve

When: Friday, December 31

New Year’s Eve at Expo is expected to be an occasion to remember, with a music event planned for Jubilee Park.

India Republic Day

When: Wednesday, January 26

India Republic Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of India's Constitution in 1950, is expected to be one of the standout events during Expo 2020 Dubai, with a grand procession and celebrations to mark the country’s 73rd anniversary.

Australia National Day

When: Saturday, January 29

Australia will host a day and night of entertainment showcasing its culture, creativity and hospitality. In addition, throughout the six months of Expo, Australia will demonstrate its sporting prowess across a number of disciples with exhibition games and drills in cricket, AFL, netball, rugby and basketball.

New Zealand National Day and Six60

When: Monday, January 31

New Zealand will mark its national day on January 31 (Waitangi Day is February 6) with a concert by history-making band Six60. New Zealand's highest-selling live group, Six60 were the first band in the world to play to a live stadium audience of thousands after the coronavirus pandemic began.

Women’s World Majlis

When: Monday, January 31

The Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 is expected to be a popular attraction at the Dubai South site. Throughout Expo, the pavilion will host a series of talks and events covering a range of issues.

The Women’s World Majlis will take place on January 31 under the theme: A Cure for Inequality: Addressing Everyone’s Needs in Healthcare.

On February 20, the Women’s Pavilion Programme will discuss Arab Women Leading the Way in Food Security, Nutrition, and Agriculture.

Valentine’s Day

When: Monday, February 14

Love will be in the air at the Expo 2020 site on February 14 with special celebrations throughout the day.

Radics Ferenc and His Band

When: Friday, February 18

Hungarian violinist Radics Ferenc and his band will play at Expo 2020.

Russia Creates

When: Tuesday, March 1

The brightest stars of Russia's creative industries come together for a special conference at Expo’s Dubai Exhibition Centre. The forum will present some of Russia’s best projects to highlight its creative industry.

Daniel Ligorio

When: Friday, March 4

Daniel Ligorio, one of the leading young pianists in Spain, will perform a concert at Expo 2020.

St Patrick’s Day

When: Thursday, March 17

The Irish Expo 2020 pavilion organisers revealed earlier this year that they plan to host a “great Irish occasion” on St Patrick’s Day, the country’s national holiday.

There are plans to bring well-known Irish acts to the emirate to celebrate the day at the Jubilee Park venue, which is adjacent to the Irish pavilion.

Mother’s Day

When: Monday, March 21

Expo 2020 will mark Mother’s Day with a number of special events.

Expo 2020 Closing Ceremony

When: Thursday, March 31

The six-month event will draw to a close with another spectacular event. If it's open to the general public, it will be worth going to.

Updated: September 01, 2021, 11:07 AM