Sweetmeat shops across the UAE have stocked up on Diwali gift packs ahead of the festival. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: With a first-time fireworks display, a 10-day fair and plenty of entertainment activities and retail promotions, Dubai is taking the Indian festival of lights to a brighter level this year.

From government departments and the emirate’s national carrier to mega malls and retailers, all have joined the festivities to make it a Dubai ‘dhamaka’ (or “celebratory blast” in Hindi) this Diwali.

Celebrating the victory of good over evil, the largest festival of Hindus has crossed religions and nationalities in the City of Gold, where many communities and commercial establishments — especially jewellery stores — have become part of the celebrations that lasts for weeks.

Diwali has officially become a major festival on the Dubai calendar, with the emirate’s tourism department promoting various activities before and after the actual day of the festival, which falls on November 7 this year.

“Diwali is very significant in the Indian calendar and we are looking forward to making it an enjoyable occasion for not just Indian residents and tourists, but people of all nationalities,” Ahmad Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai Tourism, said in a media statement. “This year promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Through a carefully crafted calendar, Dubai will be offering an abundance of activity to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to revel in the festivities and enjoy a very happy Diwali.”

Using firecrackers, a traditional part of Diwali celebrations in India, is not permitted in Dubai. Even so, the emirate will officially hold a dazzling display of fireworks this Diwali.

Emirates Airline is also taking Diwali far and to a higher level, by offering sweet delicacies of the festival to its passengers on-board and at its premium lounges in Dubai, New Delhi, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Kuala Lumpur.

Dubai residents will be spectators of the first ever official display of a Diwali diya lighting ceremony and fireworks, held at the Dubai Creek at 8:30pm on Wednesday.

The fireworks are part of 10 daylong festivities at Al Seef, the waterfront promenade by Meraas, joined by DFRA, Dubai Police and the Indian Consulate.

“This is the first time that residents of Dubai will witness Diwali being celebrated in such a grand scale, with the participation of officials from different government and corporate bodies,” the organisers said.

Also on the agenda is a Guinness World Record attempt for the most number of people lighting up LED lights in a relay, as well as a display of supercars and a marching bands performance by the Dubai Police, as part of the Diwali Mela [carnival].

There will also be a special Diwali-themed bazaar showcasing cultural performances, delicious food, music, festive products and decorative items in a fair-like atmosphere.

Indian sweets are an essential part of Diwali celebrations and community members, companies and corporate giants are increasingly gifting these traditional delicacies to friends, families, colleagues and clients during Diwali.

“All big Emirati families are buying sweets and Indian gifts for their partners, employees and friends. Malls, hotels and companies also buy sweets in bulk,” said Abhay Agarwal, managing director of Puranmal Group.

“Dubai has definitely made Diwali a part of its cultural celebrations. We don’t feel like we live outside India and we are so proud of living here because of the warmth and tolerance with which Dubai has embraced us,” he said.

Diwali Delights in Dubai

Al Seef will host a mega Diwali celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights.

DIWALI MARKET AT AL SEEF: ‘Diwali Mela’, a fair offering an array of activities, fireworks, diya lighting opportunities, cultural activities, display of super cars and marching bands performance by Dubai Police, to delight visitors between November 1 to 10.

SALAAM DUBAI: Shaan & KK Live in Concert — On November 9, from 9pm to 1am, popular Bollywood singers Shaan and KK will perform live for fans at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Garhoud. Visit platinumlist.net to purchase tickets starting from Dh125.

SHOP & WIN RAFFLE: Spend Dh200 at Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) between November 1 and 10 to receive a raffle coupon to enter a draw to win the grand prize of an all-new Nissan Kicks from AW Rostamani Arabian Automobiles. 15 lucky winners stand a chance to win diamond necklaces worth Dh1,000 each.

Dubai Festival City Mall: A special IMAGINE show that is set to dazzle the crowd with the much loved Bollywood tune Jai Ho! composed by the legendary musician A.R. Rahman for the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, the special IMAGINE show will burst to life with water, fire, light and a laser performance, on Wednesday.

Ibn Battuta Mall: An enchanting line-up of Bollywood-inspired interactive activities and roaming entertainment from November 7 to 10, between 2.40pm and 9pm.

Bay Avenue: On November 9, hostesses wearing traditional saris will welcome guests to the venue which will host a wide variety of entertainment acts, including traditional dandiya and banghra/dhol troop dance performances, and craft workshops on rangoli, paper lanterns etc.