Diwali 2021 in the UAE: celebrations light up Dubai and Abu Dhabi

The Indian festival of lights symbolises the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness

Diwali celebrations ushered in much-needed festivities and hopes for new beginnings across the UAE on Thursday. The festival of lights is a major holiday in much of South Asia, and is traditionally celebrated for five days.

The third day of the festival, which fell on Thursday, is generally considered the main day. Predominantly a Hindu festival, although Jains and Sikhs also celebrate, Diwali symbolises the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

Like every year, homes in neighbourhoods across Dubai, especially in Bur Dubai, have been lit up since last week in anticipation. For many, the lighting of lamps is to welcome the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and to usher in prosperity. On Thursday, residents dressed in their finest clothes and exchanged gifts and sweets.

Even the Burj Khalifa marked the occasion by screening a special Diwali light projection show featuring the hit song Dhoom Taana from the 2007 Bollywood blockbuster Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. The Dubai Fountain also danced to a Bollywood song to add to the festivities.

At Expo 2020 Dubai, celebrations on Thursday included a headlining concert by top rapper Badshah, as well as special Indian food offerings across the fair's many restaurants. The India Pavilion hosted a number of dance, music and food specials and even set up an interactive musical LED rangoli – the colourful designs traditionally made from flower petals, coloured rice or sand, meant to bring good luck – which is activated when visitors step on sensors, radiating light and patterns to represent happiness, positivity and prosperity.

Al Wasl Plaza, the centrepiece of Expo 2020, presented a specially curated show. The 360º projection on the world’s largest immersive dome was illuminated with Diwali-themed art while live performances were held at the plaza. Celebrations at the Expo 2020 continue until Saturday.

Follow the latest updates on the Expo here

Firework shows also lit up the sky at Bluewaters Dubai, Dubai Festival City and Global Village, which opened for its 26th season last week.

In Abu Dhabi, key landmarks across Yas Island, from Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, to Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Clymb Abu Dhabi were lit up in different colours while the Etihad Arena showcased a multicolour display.

Updated: November 8th 2021, 6:30 AM