Saturday, January 1, 2011


New Year was ushered in style with the world’s highest fireworks organised by Emaar Properties, the developer of Burj Khalifa.

Positioning Dubai in the league of Paris and New York for New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Burj Khalifa gala was a unique triumph for the city, trumpeting its journey into new beginnings, after passing through two challenging years.

In a way, the Burj Khalifa celebrations were a reminder to the world that Dubai’s ambitions continue to be robust and real.

Even through the thick of the global financial slowdown, Dubai had rolled out two truly glorious triumphs — the inauguration of Burj Khalifa, which has been recognised by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as a ‘Global Icon’ — an epithet provided to tall structures once in 10 or 15 years; and the Dubai Metro.

And as UAE enters “a new phase of growth,” as underscored by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa celebrations served as a calling card to the world, an invitation to recognise the strengths of the country and the opportunities it provides for entrepreneurs.

The show itself was spectacular, and beamed live across millions of homes across the world.

Thousands of Dubai residents and tourists attended the celebrations, while the hotels and restaurants in the surrounding Downtown Dubai did a brisk business.

If Burj Park, the prime venue to watch the celebrations, was a teeming mass of humanity, crowds spilled over across The Dubai Mall’s waterfront promenade as well as other vantage points across Downtown Dubai.

People could be seen singing and dancing to the music. There were enormous cheers from the crowds when the dancing fountains swayed to the beats of both local and international pop tunes. Claudia Sturm from Germany said “it is my first time in Dubai and I wanted to celebrate the New Year’s Eeve with the world and also wanted to be a part of Bburj K khalifa’s one year anniversary”.

During the evening, specially set up LED screens relayed New Year celebrations from other parts of the world, and The Dubai Fountain performed its roster of musical performances, this time, with fire elements adding to the spectacle.

A laser show flagged off the New Year’s Eve gala. The four-minute display enveloped Downtown Dubai in a surreal ambience with lights and fog effects. The Dubai Fountain took over with a sizzling fire and water performance set to the tone of Arabic music celebrating the Emirati culture and heritage.

With less than one minute to go, Burj Khalifa, ‘the hero’ of the show, stepped in with a brilliantly choreographed light show, the luminescence creating a ‘heart beat’ effect as lights raced up and down the 828 metres of the tower.

A ten second countdown followed. Silence enveloped the mass of people. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 4, 3, 2, 1…

And at the tick of 0, and the arrival of 2011, Burj Khalifa went live in an unprecedented display of fireworks.

For visitors, the nearly four-minute show was an unparalleled experience — four minutes that were just frozen in time, four minutes of sheer spectacle…

The Dubai Fountain took over the show for the next one hour with continuous performances, as thousands of spectators greeted the New Year, their mobile phones buzzing, laughter punctuating the cool winter air and a hundred voices chanting in unison “Happy New Year”.

The buzz echoed in other emirates as well, as crowds thronged the Abu Dhabi Corniche for a spectacle of fireworks against the backdrop of the magnificently lit Emirates Palace. Soaked in lights and splendour, Al Qasba took the centre-stage of celebrations in Sharjah, with the culturally-inclined folks enjoying the eye-catching fireworks and light sequences on offer.

After the chaos of traffic and the jostling on Dubai Metro, the journey to witness history that took hours for most who were there, was ultimately worth it. —


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