DUBAI: Expo 2020 Dubai is becoming a smorgasbord of yuletide joy across its site, with multiple pavilions presenting their nations’ festive traditions and own unique twists on seasonal cheer.
On December 18, Santa will join Expo 2020 Dubai mascots Rashid and Latifa to light the Christmas tree in Al Wasl Plaza, alongside attractions including the dome being illuminated, snow, and music, followed by projection shows.
Highlights for visitors to enjoy from Country Pavilions around Expo 2020 over the festive season include:
Children (and adults) can join a festively dressed Wattle, the Australia Pavilion’s mascot, in the forecourt to take photos with her on a sleigh pulled by kangaroos. Visitors will be able to spot two Australian inflatable Santas — one playing cricket and the other with his surfboard — as they hide in the forecourt’s clouds. Visitors can enjoy a delicious festive lunch menu at the Aussie Local Grill and afterwards indulge in seasonal desserts and hot beverages which will include Christmas lamingtons, pavlovas, and warm mint mochas. The forecourt will also be adorned with colourful lights resembling a Christmas tree accompanied, with festive music by Australian artists.
Dressing its pavilion with festive décor, the Canada Pavilion will be adorned with poinsettias around its entrance and terrace, with the Canada sign wrapped with a colourful candy cane design. Hosting staff at the pavilion will add to the seasonal cheer, dressed in festive costumes, including gingerbread men, trees, and snowmen. Festive foods and bakes are available from the kitchen.
Czech Republic Pavilion
The Czech Republic is putting a modern spin on the festive season with a Christmas tree in front of the pavilion, decorated with snowflakes from the pavilion’s 3D printer. Christmas Saturdays see workshops organised for kids, from decorating traditional gingerbread to making paper Christmas wreaths. Hot chocolate will be free for children attending the workshops, while adults can taste mulled wine or sample a typical Czech festive menu in Bohemia Beer Restaurant. On the Last Advent December, 18, join Monika Fourneaux, author of the book Story of Lenka, who will read a chapter, while visitors will have the opportunity to win a copy of the book.
The Denmark Pavilion’s rooftop restaurant and bar De2Have has a special festive menu available all day from December 17, 23, 25, and 26.
Santa is coming to Expo 2020 Dubai courtesy of the Finland Pavilion — meet him from December 17 to 22.
The France Pavilion hosts a piano concert by Galina Besner on December 19. Each concert will last 30 minutes, with classic festive French songs. The pavilion’s decadent seasonal menu will be available from December 24 to 26 for lunch and dinner, with four courses featuring warm oyster white wine sabayon and pan-seared beef tournedos with a truffle cream sauce.
To book: http://qrco.de/brillatsavarin
The Miele Christmas Bakery runs every day until 24 December, where visitors can bake some Christmas cookies on the stage with the head chef of Miele. Festive musicals are open to everyone on December 17 to 18, December 17 to 21, and December 22 to 24, while musicians Konstantin Reinfeld and Benyamin Nuss will wow guests on the harmonica and piano respectively from December 17 to 21.
The Expo Players will perform festive favourites at their Christmas Carol event in the Ireland Pavilion’s Courtyard on December 24, then on December 26, the Players will entertain visitors as ‘Wren Boys’ as part of the pavilion’s Wren Day celebrations — the wren symbolises the past year. They will also visit a number of Expo Pavilions to perform traditional Wren Day songs and other popular seasonal numbers.
A Christmas tree illuminated in Italy’s national colours will brighten the festivities until January 7 at the Italy Pavilion, setting a perfect backdrop to a range of exciting events, including Aperitivo Italiano, a stunning performance featuring violin accompanied by an eclectic DJ, is first up on December 23, 24, and 25.
A wooden chalet inspired by a seasonal market is set up in front of the Luxembourg Pavilion until December 27, where you can enjoy typical sweets, pastries, and non-alcoholic mulled wine. Kim Kevin de Dood, a chef with Michelin-star restaurant experience, has created a festive menu that will only be available on December 24 and 25 for lunch and dinner, featuring three courses of delicious delights, including roasted duck breast with duck jus and mulled wine flavours.
New Zealand Pavilion
The New Zealand Pavilion is marking the holidays with a special menu at Tiaki restaurant. On the evening of December 24 and all day on December 25, Tiaki will serve a festive menu featuring scampi, Kāpiti Kikorangi blue cheese, and beets, lamb loin with apple stuffing, or aubergine with brussels sprouts, and the traditional New Zealand festive dessert of pavlova topped with kiwi fruit curd.
AED 285 or AED 380 with beverages; to book: http://sevn.ly/xncgxEli
Visitors can get into the festive spirit at the Philippines Pavilion with live carols performed by the Filipino Social Club (FilSoc) Chorale on December 18, 20, and 22 and performances by individual musicians on 19 and December 21 to 23.
Visitors to the Poland Pavilion can immerse themselves in the country’s culture by taking part in Rituals/Rytuały from December 17 to 31, organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, featuring the traditional ritual of offering wishes and sharing festive wafers. Contemporary patterns and images by some of Poland’s top designers appear on the wafers in an interpretation of universal terms and values understood around the world, such as love, respect, and peace. Meanwhile, traditional Christmas carols will be played by pianists daily, with children invited to attend a festive workshop at the pavilion’s workshop zone on the ground floor.
Santa Claus will visit the Sweden Pavilion on December 17, while the 400-year-old Swedish tradition, Lucia, will be carried out on December 27. The candlelit procession sees girls clad in white full-length gowns with red sashes carrying trays of lussekatter (saffron buns), gingerbread cookies and coffee, and singing carols.
The Sprüngli boutique at the Switzerland Pavilion is selling limited-edition festive-themed chocolate boxes, Christmas cookies, Christmas trees, and hot chocolate throughout the season.
The UK Pavilion will receive a visit from Santa’s sleigh, while the holiday season is embraced with food, drink, events, and special appearances. Lots of surprises and new interactive moments will be on offer, especially for families and children. The 1851 Restaurant and Bar is launching a special festive menu and additional entertainment every Thursday and Friday during the holiday period.
Source: Expo 2020 Website