Dubai: Many Indian schools in the UAE will be closed for up to two days next week, allowing for a long four-day weekend for students and teachers to celebrate the Indian festival of lights, Diwali.
Several CBSE schools in Dubai such as those under The Indian High Group of Schools have declared holidays on coming Monday and Tuesday for Diwali, a Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil.
“For us it is a fantastic occasion for celebration,” said Punit MK Vasu, CEO of The Indian High Group of Schools.
“We have just had the privilege of being inspected by the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) and everybody is looking forward to a wonderful break with family and friends without any restrictions post COVID-19.”
He said students and teachers would hold Diwali celebrations on the campuses on Friday as well. “Everyone is eager to celebrate Diwali in a big way. For the past two years, we have been away from each other. Yet, my message is to celebrate responsibly not just Diwali, but every occasion,” he added.
Making rangoli and distributing sweets are part of the celebrations in many schools. Some schools like Springdales School in Dubai are even holding Diwali fairs apart from granting two-day holidays as part of the celebrations.
Zubair Ahmad, COO, Springdales School Dubai, said the school is organising a ‘Grand Diwali Mela (Fair)’ on Friday where parents are also invited to join the celebrations.
“There is a lot of focus on wellbeing and one of the aspects of that is understanding the cultural aspect. We have integrated the event with entrepreneurial skills of students also. So, we have asked the students to create Diwali-related artefacts such as diyas [lamps] and murals using their creativity and give value to it by selling them to parents. They have also been asked to link the cultures of both the countries—India and the UAE—in their works,” he added.
Michael Guzder, Vice President - Education, GEMS Education, said GEMS Indian schools have scheduled a day off for Diwali, which this year falls on Monday, October 24.
“Popularly known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali sees families and friends meet and celebrate together. As most Indian schools have just finished their Term 1 examination, students and parents will spend the extended weekend relaxing, enjoying, visiting friends and celebrating the festival together,” he added.
Lalitha Suresh, Principal, GEMS Our Own Indian School, said Diwali is celebrated in all Indian households with lights, sweets, new clothes, firecrackers, rangolis, etc.
“At GEMS Our Own Indian School, we celebrate Diwali a day before, when students come in colourful clothes and take part in special assemblies. The senior girls along with staff participate in an inter-house rangoli competition where they draw our beautiful designs on the floor and fill them with coloured powder. Sweet boxes are distributed to all staff and the school generally enjoys a two-day break to celebrate Diwali with their families. The festive feel is palpable throughout the school as staff exchange homemade sweets and Diwali delicacies in the staff room,” she added.
Dubai is officially celebrating Diwali in a big way post COVID-19 with the authorities announcing a host of entertainment events, retail promotions, massive raffles, record-breaking shows and fireworks between October 14 and 28.
Friday to Monday holiday in Sharjah
In Sharjah, schools like Sharjah Indian School have preferred to give holiday for Diwali only on Monday as the emirate already provides a three-day weekend.
“Friday is already a holiday for us,” said Dr Pramod Mahajan, principal of Sharjah Indian School.
“The number of working days for us has already been reduced due to the four-day work week policy. Yet, with great flexibility and tolerance, the Sharjah Private Education Authority has allowed principals to choose five holidays for celebrating community festivals depending on the communities of students in each school. So, we have decided to give holiday on Monday for Diwali this time,” he said.