'Glitz, glitter, and sparkles everywhere' as Indians in Dubai celebrate Diwali

Colourful festivities are well under way with the festival of light starting on Monday

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Indian families in Dubai are full of Diwali delight as they gear up to celebrate the joyous holiday in style.

Homes and balconies across the emirate are decked with strings of lights and flowers in honour of the five-day festival of lights, which starts on Monday.

Traditional food and rangoli — patterns on floors made from dry rice and flour — are being busily prepared for an occasion which has family and friendship at its heart.

Many Indian schools in Dubai will close on Monday and Tuesday to allow pupils and parents to make the most of the event.

A time to rejoice

Pragati Grover prepares for the Diwali celebrations at her home in Dubai. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Dr Anil Grover, a specialist in internal medicine at Prime Hospital in Dubai, said this year was special because loved ones could celebrate together, with restrictions imposed due to Covid-19 now greatly reduced.

“We have get-togethers planned for Diwali and my brother was able to come down from the US to celebrate with us,” said Dr Grover.

“Celebrations started early for us on Thursday. We will make rangoli at home and my mother is here from India and has made sweets like pinni for us.”

Pinni is an Indian dessert made from desi ghee, wheat flour, jaggery and almonds.

“The last couple of years there were hardly any celebrations and no gatherings. We just had prayers at home and decorated our homes with lights, but now masks have been removed and we can meet and celebrate,” he said.

Dr Grover and his wife, Dr Pragati Grover, will work during the day on Monday and wear traditional clothes, have a prayer ceremony at home and then celebrate with friends in the evening.

'Just like being in India'

Dr Pragati Grover, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist at Prime Medical Centre, said she enjoyed driving around the city to see the homes decorated with strings of lights.

“It feels just like being in India,” she said.

“The last two years the celebrations were muted due to Covid.

“I think Diwali in Dubai is just like what we used to celebrate in India or even better than that.”

Natasha Vaswani, an Indian resident in Dubai and owner of Divas Boutique in Meena Bazaar, said the area was decorated for the festivities.

“It's all glitz, glitter and sparkles everywhere,” said Ms Vaswani.

On Monday, the family will dress in traditional Indian clothes and have a prayer ceremony at their workplace.

Snehal Gagwani, an Indian resident in Dubai, decorated her home with flowers and lights for Diwali. Photo: Snehal Gagwani

In the evening, up to 15 members of their family will dress in their finest Indian clothes and celebrate by going out for dinner.

“My five-year-old son looks forward to going around distributing sweets within the building to all his friends on Diwali,” she said.

Praveen Shetty, chairman of the Fortune Group of Hotels, said: “This year, we will be missing our children, as they are away for higher education but then it's a festival that calls for celebrations. We have lit our home with beautiful lights and rangoli done by my wife.

“On Monday, we will start the day with the traditional puja (prayers) and then catch up with family.

“Celebrations are incomplete without bonding with near and dear ones over a hearty meal so we are looking forward to a great time with friends and our neighbours.

“I make it a point to visit all our hotels and exchange greetings. All our hotels are lit up for the occasion. We do puja with our team members and share a special festive meal.”

Snehal Gagwani, an Indian resident working in the travel industry in Dubai, said she had made a special effort to decorate her home this year because it was her son Vir's first Diwali.

The mother decorated her apartment with garlands of marigold flowers and put diyas and lights up.

“My balcony is lit with fairy lights. Also, we have an area in the living room where we will be doing the puja for the Goddess Lakshmi.

“We will be having a Lakshmi puja on Monday and that's done during sunset because it's believed that the goddess enters your house during sunset.”

She said that on Monday the family would start the day with prayers and then host family members at their home.

On Saturday, they also bought some gold to celebrate the first day of Diwali.

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Updated: October 23, 2022, 12:55 PM
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