Looking back at the UAE's record-breaking New Year’s Eve celebrations – Timeframe

From giant firecrackers to drones and lasers, the UAE is frequently recognised by Guinness World Records

The New Year's Eve fireworks at Sheikh Zayed Festival will attempt to set three Guinness World Records. Photo: Sheikh Zayed Festival
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The Guinness World Records inspectors are preparing for another busy New Year's Eve in the UAE as two events vie to etch their names, again, into the record books.

Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi will host a one-hour firework display featuring 5,000 drones, which aims to break three records in terms of duration, quantity and design intricacy.

In Ras Al Khaimah, two records are for the taking on Al Marjan Island – for the longest chain of aquatic floating fireworks and the longest straight-line drone display.

If achieved, the achievements will join a growing list of records spanning a decade and involving thousands of fireworks launched on land and sea.

A glance through the Guinness World Records shows the UAE New Year's Eve celebrations mentioned as far back as December 31, 2013 when Palm Jumeirah and World Islands in Dubai were the launch pad for 479,651 firework shells, which were set off in six minutes. The rate of 79,941 fireworks per minute was considered a record by inspectors.

According to Guinness World Records: "Within the first minute, Dubai fired enough shells to break the previous Guinness World Records title record held by Kuwait with an hour-long show of 77,282 fireworks, achieved in November 2011 during the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the country’s constitution."

To welcome 2018, celebrations on Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah featured the largest aerial fireworks shell. The projectile was a giant firecracker weighing 1,087 kilograms, which was assembled over two months by US company Grucci. An audience of 100,000 people watched the pyrotechnic light up the sky at midnight.

In the following two years, Rask Al Khaimah added to its collection of records with the longest chain of fireworks and longest firework waterfall, with the latter consisting of 11,284 fireworks.

With the pandemic putting a stop to major New Year's Eve celebrations around the world in 2020, more than two million fans streamed the Kiss 2020 Goodbye concert at Atlantis The Palm.

The mammoth gig was the soundtrack to the highest flame projection in a concert (more than 35m tall) and 73 flame projections, setting the record for the most launched simultaneously.

A year later Al Marjan Island and the Sheikh Zayed Festival broke more records as they welcomed 2022.

The former used 452 firework drones to secure the title of the most remote-operated drones to launch simultaneous fireworks. The Sheikh Zayed Festival nabbed the record for the largest straight-line firework display with a 35-minute show using 22,240 shells.

A year later, Ras Al Khaimah broke its own record with 671 remote-operated drones launching fireworks simultaneously.

As we approach this New Year’s Eve celebrations, the UAE is again planning to beat its own records, securing its place in the record books.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 6:02 PM