Thousands flock to spend Christmas Day with family at Expo 2020 Dubai

Residents from all emirates and tourists enjoy the festive fun on offer over the weekend

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Visitors young and old spent the day posing for photographs and learning new dance moves at Expo 2020 Dubai on Christmas Day on Saturday.

Families from Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain who made the journey said they were visiting on consecutive days to make the most of the festive weekend.

The parents said it was an unusual way for them to spend Christmas instead of staying at home like they had in previous years.

I feel like I’m exploring the world
Ishita Rout, aged 12

“We usually watch movies in the house and eat a lot. This is fun to come out and enjoy with my family,” said Miracle Ifeanyi, 7, who posed near a reindeer display with her younger sister Charity.

“I have come twice, once with my school. I feel happy here. We have a lot of fun.”

The family from Nigeria said they planned to visit the site several more times before Expo 2020 closes on March 31.

At the German pavilion, the Rout sisters from India shimmied in time to the music as they followed a dance instructor’s steps.

Visitors to the pavilion are encouraged to join dance routines and learn new moves in styles ranging from hip-hop to samba on a stage.

“I feel like I’m exploring the world,” said Ishita Rout, 12, accompanied by her sisters Shribita and Linkita during a dance break.

“It’s very colourful and feels different celebrating Christmas at Expo. There is so much to do. We can dance here and then go to see different countries and their inventions.”

It is the third visit in a week for the family who live in Al Ain – and they plan to come again next week.

The dance instructors leading the routines said the sessions would be held inside the pavilion daily.

“There are so many people wanting to dance that the stage is not big enough – adults join in too,” instructor Sina Eckstein-Allmendinger said.

“The kids are so happy. They feel like stars on the stage. They are our main motivation.”

Queues snaked around the Germany pavilion – one of the most popular on the Expo site – with people waiting to join the fun.

Visitors also joined long lines outside other venues including the UAE, Japan, China and Saudi Arabia pavilions.

Milan Zivkovic, a member of staff at the Serbia pavilion, was surprised at the turnout on Christmas Day.

“The tradition is usually to stay home and be with family, so we did not expect so many people to turn up on Christmas Day,” he said.

“It looks like more and more people will show up.”

For Karim Aziz, a tourist from Malaysia, Expo was the perfect place to bring his young family.

The visitors listed the large waterfeature, a big attraction at Expo, and a slide in the Luxembourg pavilion among their favourites.

“The children want to see which country is working to contribute to making the world a better place,” said the father of three teenage girls.

“The Christmas decorations are great and we wanted to see what new inventions are being shown in the pavilions.”

Expo 2020 Dubai has a packed schedule, with performances by international and local artists booked to entertain crowds.

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Updated: December 25, 2021, 1:55 PM