Hundreds of thousands of spectators saw in the New Year in spectacular style on Monday at a breathtaking firework display at Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
The sensational show - which proved bigger and brighter than ever - kicked off right on cue shortly before midnight and lasted for ten minutes.
Revellers watched in awe as a dazzling light and laser extravaganza paved the way for an incredible burst of fireworks launched from the world’s tallest tower.
Crowds numbers were estimated to be close to a million - with some 4,000 police officers and 2,000 security guards also on hand to ensure the event ran smoothly.
“We were packed shoulder to shoulder but it was worth it,” said one grinning party goerafter the event.
“It was just such an incredible display and it seemed to last forever. It’s already made my year.”
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As the clock ticked slowly towards 2019, the size of the crowd in downtown Dubai continued to swell.
DJ’s played live sets to waiting onlookers as restaurants and bars across the city echoed with partygoers soaking up the atmosphere.
As well as the huge display at the Burj Khalifa, thousands of revellers also headed to other events across the Emirates.
In Ras Al Khaimah, vast crowds saw in the New Year at Al Marjan Island, while in Sharjah another firework display was held at the Al Majaz Waterfront.
Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, more dazzling, heart-stopping pyrotechnics lit up the night sky for onlookers on the Corniche.
The city was hoping to lay claim to a Guinness world record by creating the longest sentence written with fireworks anywhere in the world. The message spelt out Happy New Year 2019.
“The UAE does fireworks like nowhere else,” said one spectator. “It’s been a festival of light and noise since early this evening.
“The atmosphere’s been electric and the fireworks didn’t disappoint either. They were huge.”
This year, hotels in Dubai reportedly reaped the benefits of a return of the city's iconic Burj Khalifa display – charging customers more than double for rooms.
Last year’s event took the form of a laser show which proved less popular, but a reversal back to a more traditional firework display saw a surge in reservations.
Brothers Fariz Nayan and Fijhaz Nayan took their families to Business Bay for a view out towards the Burj Khalifa.
“We’re here with all the extended family and it’s been amazing,” said Mr Fijhaz Nayan. “We got a great view and the children were so excited.”
Cities all over the world have become increasingly competitive when it comes to staging elaborate New Year fireworks displays.
Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai, London, Moscow, and Cape Town regularly prove the most popular.
In Auckland this year, New Zealand's biggest city, tens of thousands of spectators gathered around Sky Tower as fireworks exploded from the top of the 328-meter structure.
And in Australia, an estimated one million spectators crowded into Sydney Harbour as the country's largest city rang in 2019 with an incredible, soul-tinged fireworks celebration.
Their complex display included gold, purple and silver fireworks pulsating to the tune of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," made famous by Aretha Franklin, who died in August 2018.
The show used a total of 8.5 tons of fireworks and featured more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects.
Rabia Mustafa, an Indian resident living in Dubai, watched her city’s celebrations from her home in JBR.
“This is my first year in Dubai and I was so excited to see the fireworks,” she said.
“I had some dinner, went shopping, enjoyed some family time and then watched a really great display.”
Vidya Raghav, an Indian living in Abu Dhabi, said she, her husband and their six-year-old son watched the capital’s show from the corniche.
"It was just so exciting,” she said. “It felt like all of Abu Dhabi was out on the streets celebrating the start of 2019."
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Editorial Comment: Look back with pride, and forward with excitement
Updated: January 1, 2019 12:59 PM