Defending champion Roger Federer launched the Chinese New Year celebrations at Burj Al Arab tonight, ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships ATP tournament which commences on Monday.
Organized by the tournament and Burj Al Arab, Federer was a special guest of the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Chang Hua; the China Consul General, Mr Tang Weibin; Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO Jumeriah Group; and Mr Anthony McHale, General Manager of Burj Al Arab. Also in attendance was Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director.
Six time Dubai champion Federer was invited to participate in the ceremony for the colouring of the eyes of the lion.
The lion dance is a traditional cultural dance performed at significant ceremonies and Chinese New Year celebrations.
Colouring of the eyes is an important part of the ceremony, and the responsibility is reserved for someone of high social status, as it is believed to give the lion its spirit, and brings it to life.
This ceremony must be undertaken prior to the lion dance commencing.
Federer was delighted to be part of the ceremony :
“It’s been a fantastic evening, I’m honoured to have been part of this celebration. The Burj Al Arab is iconic, and this celebration is a nice gesture for the Chinese guests.
I’ve had some amazing moments playing here in Dubai, especially playing here on the helipad, and playing in China too, so the chance to celebrate this, I wasn’t going to miss it.”