Colourful carnival at Expo City Dubai to launch Chinese New Year festivities

Floats, dances, grand parade and a Chinese market for food and handicrafts opens on Saturday

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A vibrant carnival with a lively, cultural parade is expected to draw thousands of Chinese citizens and UAE residents to Expo City Dubai on Saturday.

About 20 floats representing provinces in China will move through the streets of the Expo site along a two-kilometre route to kick off Lunar New Year celebrations.

About 2,500 Chinese residents will take part in the parade that will start at 4pm at the Chinese pavilion at Expo.

China was closed so not too many people from China came for the Expo. Now families are coming to Dubai and they want to see Expo 2020 and the China pavilion
Abbey Wang, Shandong province representative

Musicians and dancers in traditional lion and dragon costumes will entertain crowds lining the streets during the two-hour procession.

Officials estimate that about 10,000 people will gather for the festivities. Residents said they planned to take visiting relatives and friends to the Expo site to join in the celebrations.

“This is part of the spring festival and is for good luck and happiness,” a Chinese official said.

“Everyone is welcome to the carnival. We are expecting visitors from all over the world, just like when the Expo was on in Dubai.”

A musical and cultural performance will be held at Al Wasl dome at 6.30pm after the parade ends.

A Chinese market selling popular food and technology products will be open from 10am for early visitors and continue for a 10-day period.

Abbey Wang, a representative of Shandong province, is involved in the preparation for her home region.

“Every Chinese person in Dubai is happy about this parade at Expo because we have not had this kind of big parade for the new year since Covid,” she said.

“It also shows the close relationship of my country with the UAE for us to have such a big celebration here.

“The countries support each other and are really encouraging people to celebrate.”

Chinese residents have designed colourful floats that are being prepared in warehouses in Dubai.

The Shandong display will show the Tai mountain, a sacred spot of worship that is also a Unesco world heritage site.

The float will feature images to advertise the history and economic strength of towns such as Qingdao, a port city with close ties to the UAE.

“People have been home for years and had no opportunity to celebrate the new year with friends,” Ms Wang said.

“Chinese people are very excited about this event because now China is open.

“Expo 2020 attracted millions of people but China was closed, so not too many people from China came for the Expo.

“Now families are coming to visit Dubai, and they want to see Expo 2020 and the China pavilion.”

Beijing authorities on Sunday announced a withdrawal of travel restrictions, ending three years of isolation and strict quarantine rules to control the spread of Covid-19.

This encouraged Dubai residents to book tickets to see their family back home, while other UAE residents are preparing for visits from their relatives this week.

The displays will include Chinese costumes and green energy vehicles.

In previous years, residents gathered at Dubai’s Citywalk for a parade.

This year the Dubai Police and Emaar have been invited to participate in the pageant at the Expo site.

January 14 was selected because it marks Chinese Xiaonian or Little New Year, with the Lunar New Year starting on January 22.

Families usually celebrate the start of the new year at home, and the carnival has been planned to usher in the celebrations.

Updated: January 13, 2023, 3:00 AM