You have a lot of great options to celebrate this Diwali in style with your friends and family. If you are new to the festival, scroll down to see what it's all about and then try out these fun venues to participate in the celebration.
Note: Sale or purchase of fireworks is illegal in the UAE
Pay for two and bring a guest
From a stunning ambience to the special Diwali set menu, Iz in Grand Hyatt is a great place to be this Diwali. They are offering an atmosphere filled with culture, traditional costumes, candles and flowers as you dive into a spicy culinary journey. Pay for two and bring along a friend for free (three dine at the cost of two) if you're all dressed traditionally.
Location Grand Hyatt Cost Dh160 for the vegetarian set menu Dates and timings October 19 to 21; 12.30pm to 3.30pm (Lunch); 7pm to 11.30pm (Dinner) Contact 04 317 2221
Celebrate at Ashiana
Live music and a combination of a special set menu and buffet is what Ashiana is offering for Diwali celebrations this year. The menu includes signature non-vegetarian and vegetarian options in starters and mains.
Location Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers,Garhoud, Dubai Cost Dh149 per person Dates October 18 to 21 Contact 04 228 1111
Neha Bhasin at WTCAD
The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi (WTCAD) is inviting all residents and tourists in the UAE to celebrate Diwali with the well-known and loved celebrity Neha Bhasin. Mall visitors have access to a memorable authentic Indian-style celebration with Bollywood glam, dancing and music, along with fun activities including a 'rangoli' competition. On Friday October 20, The Mall will transform into a Bollywood inspired scene with five famous Indian dance styles including Kathak, Bharat Natyam, Bhangra, Dandia, and Laavni.
Location The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi Dates October 20 Timings 5pm to 10pm
Dh45 for an unlimited Diwali Thali
Enjoy food like the Indians and with the Indians during Diwali at just Dh45 a plate. This plate is Rajdhani's exclusive Diwali 'thali' which features unlimited food. You can also buy Diwali sweets from here to gift your friends and family.
Location Rajdhani, Karama Cost Dh45 per person (Vegetarian only) Dates October 17 to 21 Contact 04 334 7977
Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
The ‘festival of lights’ at the Ferrari World will see the iconic red roof and the venue turn into a world of light, hosting musical and live performances for an entire week. Bollywood inspired dance acts, henna, face-painting and 'rangoli' art work along with all-time favourite Bollywood beats will make the celebration one to remember.
Location Yas Island Dates October 20 to October 28; Activities available from 11am to 8pm; Shows start at 1.15pm Cost From Dh275 per person online; Dh295 at the door Tickets here
Big Diwali celebrations for the little ones
This might just be the best Diwali for your kids if you take them to Splash 'N' Party where they can do exactly that. The celebrations will feature fireworks, water guns, kids’ meals and entertainment. Entertainment will include Stilt walkers, Bollywood dancers and a juggler, with the vibrant DJ on the deck.
Location Al Safa 2, Street 8A, Villa No.1, Jumeirah Cost Dh100 per child Dates and timings October 12 and 19; 4pm to 8pm Contact 04 388 3008
Diwali with a view
Celebrate Diwali at Mint Leaf of London with great food, views of the Burj Khalifa and the iconic Downtown Dubai skyline. An eight-course set menu is what’s special for Diwali, with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.
Location Mint Leaf of London, 15th Floor South Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC Cost Dh250 per person Dates and timing October 16 to 21 (all day dining 12pm onwards) Contact +9714 706 0900
Diwali Dinner and Dance at Spice & Ice
Enjoy a special three-course Diwali set menu here with unlimited house beverages for four hours on Thursday, October 19. Guests are encouraged to dress up in traditional attire to make the celebrations pop.
Location Spice & Ice, Cluster A, Lake Level, Movenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Dubai Cost Dh299 per person or Dh498 per couple for a set menu including unlimited house beverages Date and timings October 19, 9pm to 1am (party goes on until 3am) Contact 04 421 1356
Celebrate Diwali Mumbai-style in Dubai
Moombai & Co. are offering guests a special set menu to celebrate the Indian festival in what they consider is authentic Mumbai style. A three-course set menu with 12 dishes, along with live entertainment and choreographed dancers (on Thursday and Friday) is what awaits guests.
Location Moombai & Co.,The H Dubai, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai Cost Dh180 per person Dates and timings October 18 to 21; 11am to 11pm Contact 04 501 8607
Flying home for Diwali gets sweeter with Emirates
If you’re on a flight home-bound to celebrate Diwali from October 16 to 22, you’re in for a treat. Gorge on traditionally prepared ‘motichoor’ ladoos when flying economy on Emirates from Dubai to India. Business and First class customers will be offered the ladoos together with a dry-fruit burfi treat - a sweet made with cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, raisins, dried figs and dates.
Dates October 16 to 22 on all flights from Dubai to India
What is Diwali?
Diwali is derived from ‘deepavali’, a Sanskrit word which translates to a row (avali) of lights or lamps (deep). The festival is celebrated with scores of small lamps or lights decorating houses and buildings, even on rooftops and outside doors and windows.
There are many stories around this festival. It is believed that the Hindu goddess, Lakshmi was born on the Dhanteras day and that on Diwali, she visits and blesses her devotees.
Another story in northern India is that Diwali is commemorative of the kingdom of Ayodhya, which was lit up with lights to welcome their long exiled king and Hindu god, Rama. In Bengal and some southern states, Diwali is associated with the Hindu goddess, Durga. Jains and Sikhs also celebrate this auspicious time with their own story renditions.
The night of Diwali is the darkest night of autumn, the new moon night of the Hindu lunar month ‘Kartik’. The lighted lamps are believed to illuminate the path for Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi to find her way to your home.
Days of celebration
Dhanteras The first day starts off with cleaning and renovation of all houses and building premises. New clothes and ornaments are purchased. This day is believed to mark the birth of the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Rangolis or colourful floor patterns are drawn and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in worship of the goddess.
Choti Diwali Also known as Naraka Chaturdasi, this is the eve of the main festival. Rangolis are drawn and the preparation of Diwali sweets starts. Women decorate their hands with henna and pujas are held.
Diwali (October 19) Lakshmi puja, a worship ritual for the goddess is held on this day. People wear their best clothes and come together to light crackers and fireworks. After the celebrations, there are family feasts and endless plates of sweets to devour.
People also distribute sweets as a mark of goodwill and brotherhood. Indian soldiers on the border distribute sweets to their Pakistani counterparts and they return the goodwill with assortments of Pakistani sweets.
Padwa The day after Diwali sees the celebration of marital love and affection. The Hindu god Krishna is also worshipped on this day.
Bhai Dhuj In north-east India and Nepal, this day celebrates the relationship between sister and brother through various rituals and exchange of gifts.