Scores enjoy Chinese New Year parade in Dubai

Chinese and other expats take in performances at City Walk on Friday, the first day of the Year of the Dog

Chinese New Year Celebrations at the City Walk, Dubai.

Dubai: Thousands of people and performers enjoyed the first parade in Dubai to celebrate the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, on Friday at City Walk.

Friday marked the first day of the New Year — the Year of the Dog — in the Chinese lunar calendar.

It is the biggest festival in China, lasting weeks.

At City Walk on Friday, traditional red Chinese lanterns, dragon dances, other Chinese performances and expats and visitors turned the venue into a microcosm of China.

“I went home to China last year for the festival. This year I’m celebrating in Dubai, I’ve never seen anything like this in Dubai. It’s wonderful, I feel like I didn’t miss anything,” said Hao Ma, 30, a Chinese businessman in Dubai who was at City Walk to soak in the festivities.

Chinese New Year Celebrations at the City Walk, Dubai

“So many Chinese people are coming here now. I’ve been in Dubai for five years now and heard about the Chinese parade at City Walk from a friend. I’m happy I came here.”

Dubai is home to the majority of 270,000 Chinese expats in the UAE and one million Chinese tourists visited Dubai in 2017.

The two countries are also major trade partners.

The bilateral non-oil trade between the two countries reached $35.1 billion (Dh128.8 billion) in 2017.

Friday’s parade, which was mostly concentrated in the central circular space at City Walk near Roxy Cinemas, also drew many expats.

Thousands of gifts with Chinese characters were also distributed.

Chinese New Year Celebrations at the City Walk, Dubai

“I feel blessed, actually, to have this chance to enjoy Chinese culture and celebrations without having to go to China. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this in real life. I’ve seen Chinese New Year celebrations only on TV,” said Manimaran, 36, an Indian accounts manager who saw Friday’s parade.

“I came here with my friend, Parthish, and we plan to stick around till the end,” he said.

The celebrations started shortly after 4pm and lasted around two hours.

The parade was split into sections with each group and performance representing a province of China.

The inaugural spectacle was held in partnership with the Consulate General of China, Meraas and Dubai Police.

“This year’s Spring Festival Parade promises to be record breaking as it’s the largest, with the widest participation and the parade is the first in the Middle East. Secondly, it will break history in terms of variety. There will be 30 parading groups composed of 1,000 Chinese people from Chinese enterprises, as well as the Dubai Police band,” Li Lingbing, Chinese Consul-General in Dubai, said earlier.

Chinese New Year celebrations in Dubai will continue till February 28 at the Meraas destinations of The Beach, Boxpark, The Outlet Village, Al Seef, and La Mer.

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