190130 courtesy dubai airports
A Chinese dance being performed at Dubai International Airport to launch a week of Chinese New Year celebrations. File photo Image Credit: Gulf News/archive

Dubai: If you are still looking for more fun, here is another chance to celerbate New Year in Dubai. Yes, the fun-filled Chinese New Year celebrations have kicked off in Dubai on Thursday.

For the third year running, Hala China, by Meraas and Dubai Holding, will usher in the Chinese New Year with a bang. And this year is set to be bigger and better than ever before, as a rich variety of cultural performances and experiences will take place across the city’s leading destinations from January 16 through to February 8, 2020.

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is China’s most important festival. It is also the most important celebration for families and a week of an official public holiday. Chinese New Year 2020 falls on Saturday, January 25, 2020, beginning a year of the Rat.

Range of activities

City Walk, Al Seef, Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Nikki Beach and Kite Beach will host a packed schedule of activities. These will range from a spectacular Grand Parade to Lion Dance competitions, as the emirate continues to embrace and celebrate the best of Chinese culture along with the over 200,000 Chinese expatriates who call Dubai home. Last year’s Grand Parade at City Walk drew the participation of more than 34,000 visitors to the urban destination, and those numbers are expected to reach up to 50,000 this year.

Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Hala China, said: “Riding on the huge success of the 2018 and 2019 Chinese New Year celebrations we hosted, the event has quickly become a highlight in Dubai’s calendar that many of our residents and visitors look forward to.

“This year, Hala China is offering its greatest array of Chinese-inspired events and activities, as we continue to raise the standards of entertainment in the region. The range of events we are set to host will show why more and more Chinese expatriates call our city with its state-of-the-art infrastructure and inclusive nature their home.”

The partners for the 2020 Hala China New Year’s celebrations include, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, Dubai Police, Meraas and Dubai Holding.

Li Xuhang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai, said: “We’re lucky to witness the best time ever in the history of bilateral relations between the UAE and China. The celebration during China Spring Festival will definitely provide special opportunities for everyone who is ready to learn about Chinese culture and history, thus bringing greater cultural awareness and social integration to the residents of the two countries.”

With such a range of Chinese New Year-inspired events set to unfold across Dubai, here’s what to look out for, as the year of the rat dawns.

The Grand Parade

On 17 January 2020 from 4pm, City Walk by Meraas will host the spectacular Grand Parade, featuring enormous dragons, acrobatic performers and much more. Over 40 groups, including schools, Chinese expatriates, resident Chinese business chambers, as well as a marching band from the emirate’s own Dubai Police will join hands with performers from China at the Grand Parade. Visitors can expect to see a symphony orchestra, dragon and lion dances, acrobatics and Kung Fu, among other displays. Over 4,000 participants will make up the biggest Chinese New Year parade in Dubai.

Lion Dance Competition

For the first time, on 18 January 2020 from 2pm to 7pm, Dubai Parks and Resorts will host over 30 teams from China competing for the title of the ‘Lion King’. The lion dance, a traditional dance performed during Chinese New Year and other Chinese cultural festivals, is said to bring good luck and fortune to those who practice and watch it. Performances mimic a lion’s movements.

The China Box

From 16 January to 8 February 2020, City Walk will host a pop-up exhibition to showcase Chinese New Year themed arts and crafts, music performances from Beijing, Suzhou and Chengdu, as well as interactive performances and include surprise giveaways.

Kite Festival

On 18 January 2020, from 8:30am to 1:00pm, Kite Beach, the city’s favourite beach spot for friends, families and fitness fanatics will host a day-long kite festival. Open to all, the local community can participate in kite making and traditional kite-flying activities. Little ones can stay entertained with kite-making workshops where they can learn all about the art of flying kites.

Chef’s Competition

One of the highlights of the festivities will be the multifaceted food festival. On 19 January 2020, Hala China is set to run a cooking competition that will see top master chefs from China and revered UAE-based chefs go head-to-head at Nikki Beach in front of a live audience, with the executive chef from Dubai’s Nikki Beach and Silk Flavour Restaurant’s Wu Zhihong judging the outcome of the cook-off. The exchange will bring the best of both cuisines to life.

Miss Tumbler

Performing for the first time in the emirate, China’s famous TikTok influencer with over 1.5 billion views, Feng Jia Chen will put on a unique performance, rotating on a giant sphere, gracefully and seemingly effortlessly defying gravity all the while dressed as a Tang dynasty princess. Her performances are set to take place from 27 to 29 January 2020 at Dubai Parks and Resorts from 5pm to 8pm on the hour. Each show is for a 20-minute duration and is open to all.

Hala China, an endeavour by Meraas and Dubai Holding, focuses on exploring opportunities that facilitate economic development through tourism, trade and investment. The programme features a robust calendar of events, including food festivals, fashion shows, sporting competitions, as well as music and cultural festivals. In December 2019, Hala China wrapped up its second edition of Dubai Fashion Days, which saw over 12 designers from China and the Middle East put together a five-day fashion extravaganza under the able guidance of show director, Jerry Zhang China’s ‘father of fashion’.

Al Habtoor City activities

Mark the Year of the Rat in spectacular fashion with a host of thrilling events, activations and dining experiences at the landmark, Al Habtoor City for Chinese New Year. Revel in the celebrations taking place including The Asian Village at Habtoor Palace, an award-winning brunch and spectacular Sichuan dinner at The Market, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City.

The Asian Village

Escape Dubai and step into Chinatown with Habtoor Palace’s fun-filled Asian Village from 23 to 25 January 2020 at 5pm until 10pm at the Habtoor Palace Gardens. Walk around the market stalls with sights and smells to ignite the senses. Sample mouthwatering street food stations including Chinese classics such as Satay BBQ, Spring Rolls and Dumplings. Quench thirst at the Asian-themed drinks station with Asian hops and the “Lychee Lounge”. Kids and adults will love the Chinese arts and crafts section and be thrilled by the daily Chinese Lion dance performance. Each day has a special entertaining element including Asian music ensemble, Cosplay contest and ballet performance. Entrance is completely free.

The City Brunch

The City Brunch is without doubt Dubai’s favourite family brunch and for one day only on Friday 24 January, it’s journeying East to celebrate Chinese New Year. Boasting a large supervised play area with a plethora of activities including face painting, a movie corner and even kids cooking classes little ones will be entertained for hours. 

For Chinese New Year, the City Brunch will be China themed with beautiful Chinese decorations and serve delicious Chinese specialty food. Start with a traditional Yu Sheng Salad, known as the “prosperity salad” or a comforting soup of golden broth with crab meat and mushrooms. Main dishes include homemade assorted dim sum and fried dim sum, fresh Sichuan seafood platter, Sichuan spicy chicken, beef stew with white radish and fried Singapore Noodles. Guests won’t be able to resist the Homemade Wontons cooked live in front of their very eyes. To finish off the spectacular feast, indulge in a traditional Chinese dessert includingassorted dry Chinese New Year cake, sesame dumplings, steamed lotus root and white fungus stew.

Chinese New Year Buffet

Welcome the Chinese New Year of the “Rat” with traditional Chinese favourites along with an international buffet spread at The Market, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City  on January 24 from 7pm to 10.30pm. The famed restaurant’s two Sichuan-Chinese chefs “Wu” and “Miami” will cater an unforgettable culinary journey with traditional Chinese and homemade food, along an international selection.