The Dubai Chinese Learning Centre celebrated Chinese New Year on Saturdayat the Dubai International Academy, children of various age groups performed. Image Credit: FRANCOIS NEL/Gulf News

Dubai: As hundreds of millions of Chinese revellers celebrated their New Year’s Eve in the Land of the Dragon on Saturday, a tiny Dubai community welcomed the Year of the Snake with a children’s performance.

Several young students from the Dubai Chinese Learning Centre (DCLC) showed off their Chinese language skills in front of proud parents recording their songs and poems on smart phones and tablet computers.

The event was held at the Dubai International Academy on Saturday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Saturday was the last day of the Year of the Dragon and Sunday is the first day of the Year of the Snake. Each of the 12 years in the Chinese New Year cycle is named after an animal in the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese tradition attributes the qualities of each animal to its corresponding year, with the Year of the Snake though to be “smooth overall,” DCLC founder Lucy Chuang told Gulf News.

“The Chinese New Year is our biggest day, the celebrations go on for 15 days. Chinese tradition says there’ll be some ups and downs at first, but then all will be smooth – like the snake – with a good result at the end of the year,” Chuang said.

“Today (Saturday) is the last day of the Year of the Dragon – fantastic, full of excitement. We’re still in the tail of the Dragon. Next year (Sunday) will be smooth for studies and business.”

It was smooth running for the children at the event, who needed virtually no help from grown ups with their performances. The students were mostly from families of varied heritage, with one parent from China and another from a different country.

“It’s good to see the community, the kids and parents, here. It’s our piece of the celebrations,” said Liao Yubing, a Chinese mother from Shenzhen.

The Chinese expat community in Dubai is concentrated in Deira and International City, Chuang said, adding they are gradually moving to “New Dubai” areas in a new trend. According to figures cited by her, there are some 160,000 Chinese expats in Dubai.

“Learning Chinese isn’t so hard, it’s all about methodology and the will to learn. You need to learn it daily, and not just from books,” Chuang said.