Celebrating the New Year in Abu Dhabi
What about to welcome the new year where the climate is pleasantly warm?
If you are escaping from the cold winter, Abu Dhabi is the perfect destination to consider.
For the last days of 2020, in Abu Dhabi the long range weather forecast show mostly sunny days and temperatures around 24 and 18 degrees.
So we should have some good chances to swim in the blue waters of the Persian Gulf to welcome 2021.
This means shirtsleeves during the day and a sweatshirt or a pashmina in the evening.
In the night, let be amazed from the magic lighting of buildings, streets and palm trees, coming from the National Day celebrated on December 2nd.
Treat Yourself #InAbuDhabi
Just until December 31, 2020, by booking at least two rooms or for at least two nights in Abu Dhabi or Al Ain, you can get discounts of up to 50% on the stay and on access to the main attractions of the Emirate.
Booking in Abu Dhabi you can get discounts to access the themed parks Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World, or to visit Qasr Al Watan, Louvre and Qasr Al Hosn.
In Al Ain, you can get discounts on activities at Jebel Hafit Desert Park and Al Ain Raceway by booking your stay at hotels in the city joining the campaign.
What to expect for New Year’s Eve in Abu Dhabi
On New Year’s Eve in Abu Dhabi, as in the rest of the world, the most expected event is the fireworks show at midnight, and this year too we won’t miss them. Indeed: precisely because we need a special dose of energy to start 2021, for the last night of 2020 Abu Dhabi aims to break an absolute world record with the fireworks of Sheikh Zayed Festival, one of the most important festivals cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates.
The Festival, which takes place in Al Wathba, has in fact scheduled a fireworks display lasting 35 minutes: a double record, to be precise, not only for the duration of the show but also for the duration of the “Girandola”, the technique used to generate the fireworks.
But what is this Girandola?
Sorry for this digression, I can’t help but tell you this story.
The word “Girandola” (literally: pinwheel) is used in the original Italian, as you can also see at a glance in the Arabic tweet’s picture below (and read everywhere on the local media):
— برق الإمارات (@UAE_BARQ) December 28, 2020
According to tradition, in fact, the Girandola’s technique for fireworks was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti for official celebrations in Rome: the fireworks display, set up at the entrance to Castel Sant’Angelo, formed a pinwheel that ended with a fountain of lights.
The technique was then perfected by Lorenzo Bernini who, according to tradition, was inspired by the eruptions of Stromboli, a very lively volcano off the north coast of Sicily. The Girandola of Castel Sant’Angelo show has attracted travelers from all over Europe to Rome for over three centuries, and has been mentioned in paintings and travel diaries.
It goes without saying that, also for this reason, this year we will follow the Abu Dhabi record with particular emotion and curiosity ❤️
Where to see the fireworks in Abu Dhabi in 2020
🎇 Sheikh Zayed Festival in Al Wathba is located about half an hour from Abu Dhabi (taking the Grand Mosque as a landmark): the fireworks display is scheduled at midnight, but admission is allowed from 3 pm, with the possibility to attend to other festival events.
The ticket costs 5 AED and can be purchased online on the official Sheikh Zayed festival website >>
It will also be possible to follow the show live, through the local TV channels and the social channels of @UAE_BARQ and @AbuDhabiMedia.
🎇 Other fireworks locations in Abu Dhabi are on Yas Island and on the Promenade of Al Maryah Island, the latter organized by Mubadala Investment Company.
🎇 … And of course, the traditional fireworks on the Corniche, announced by the Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism:
. @dctabudhabi is showcasing its preparations for the dazzling fireworks display that will be held on the Corniche in #AbuDhabi as part of a series of shows and events to celebrate the New Year 2021. The show extends over a distance of 1.2km with an array of stunning effects. pic.twitter.com/qjSHdzMMSk
– مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@admediaoffice) December 30, 2020
Summarizing all the fireworks locations in Abu Dhabi on the night of December 31, 2020 :
A dazzling array of celebrations are in store in the UAE capital this New Year’s Eve as @dctabudhabi announces breathtaking fireworks shows at the #AbuDhabi Corniche and Yas Island on December 31. pic.twitter.com/7J21ncvfGp
– مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@admediaoffice) December 30, 2020
🔭 For the “strategic” view of the fireworks, some restaurants in Abu Dhabi offer special New Year’s Eve packages : you can easily find all the details on the sites dedicated to local events.
However, all the shows can be viewed safely from home, always through local television channels and social media channels.
Always keep in mind that it is not yet time to let your guard down: even on New Year’s Eve, all safety and prevention measures against COVID-19 (including the obligation to use a mask, and social distancing) must be strictly observed, otherwise heavy penalties are envisaged.
New Year 2020 in Abu Dhabi in total peace of mind
We have already recommended it to you in previous years, and we repeat also this year: forget to toast on the streets or on the beach and forget also too passionate wishes in those public places, because, tourist or expat, you’re guests of an Islamic country, even if tolerant.
This year we add the strong recommendation to adhere to all precautionary measures to contain the pandemic, and not only because there are heavy sanctions in place.
Remember that the toast, and in general the consumption of alcohol, is allowed in licensed premises for alcohol, and that for the most part these are bars and restaurants inside the hotels, accessible even to those who are not guests, always in compliance with the anti COVID-19 security measures.
New Year’s Eve in Abu Dhabi: curiosities
Finally, a couple of curiosities. New Year’s Eve in Abu Dhabi is a typically “expat” celebration, that is, imported by expatriates from all over the world who make up the majority of the population in Abu Dhabi.
The New Year, in fact, does not belong to the Islamic tradition. In Islam, Ràs as-San, that is the beginning of the year, is an exclusively religious festival that recalls the Hegira, Mohammed’s journey from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD.
Islamic New Year falls on the first day of the month of Muharram. This date varies every year because the Islamic calendar is based on the phases of the moon.
In the daily public and social life of Abu Dhabi and the Emirates, for practical reasons the reference calendar is the Gregorian one.
In fact, January 1st is a public holiday in the Emirates and everywhere, regardless of the religion, best wishes for the new year are exchanged. And besides, “Happy New Year” this year will have a special value.