Diwali Expo 2020 Dubai
Expo 2020 Dubai is seeing various performances celebrating the Indian Diwali festival this week Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai Police band and Indian expat groups presented performances to kick off celebrations for Diwali, an Indian festival of lights, at Expo 2020 Dubai over the weekend.

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is the Hindu festival of lights and sees one of the biggest celebrations of Indians back home and abroad as well.

The Indian Consulate in Dubai shared a video of the Dubai Police band performing the national anthem of India at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre. The band performed the national anthems of both the UAE and India as part of the ‘Deepavali Utsav 2021’ event organised by FOI Events with the support of the consulate and PIOCCI.

Dozens of students from Dubai Police Academy also held band performances.

Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr Fahad Al Zarouni from Dubai Police and prominent Indian business and community leaders were also present at the inaugural ceremony.

Salute to resilience

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Puri saluted “the resilience of the UAE, the visionary leadership, the government and the people of the UAE who have made it possible for all of us to get together and celebrate here at Expo 2020 Dubai”.

He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the vibrant Indian community living in the UAE, which is making it possible that at this World Expo for the first time perhaps in the history of Expo Indian nationals will be the single largest group of visitors, bringing all our festivals showcasing our ancient art and heritage, spreading the joy and of course doing business.”

Noting that Diwali is the celebration of the victory of good over evil, of knowledge over ignorance, and of light over darkness, Dr Puri urged everyone to be inspired by the ancient Indian philosophy of considering the whole world as one family, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

He thanked the Dubai Police and Dubai Police Academy for their partnership in the event. He also thanked “all the UAE government authorities and the people of the UAE for the care that was provided to the large and vibrant Indian community over the decades and especially during the challenging and trying times of last one and a half years”.

N. Mohan, CSR coordinator of FOI Events said Dubai Police band performing the Indian national anthem showcased the close cooperation and ties between the two countries.

He said various Indian expat groups presented traditional games and dance forms, especially related to Diwali. The winners of the ‘Rangoli’ competition held earlier were given gifts.

Busy festive calendar

Expo 2020 Dubai will be full of festive activities this week, with Diwali celebrations running until Friday.

Diwali at Expo will see live dance and music, art, cinema, food and a specially curated 360-degree illumination projection show at Al Wasl Plaza.

India Pavilion

The Indian Pavilion has created an interactive musical LED rangoli especially for the occasion, along with oversized diyas (oil lamps traditionally made of clay) with a backdrop inspired by mandala art.

The pavilion will also host a range of performances, including sibling duo Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, and Bollywood playback singer Vipul Mehta on November 4, while Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre will host Dubai-based Hindi band Dhruv on November 5.

Indian rap sensation Badshah will headline the Diwali edition of ‘Late Nights @ Expo’ at Jubilee Stage on November 4, presenting The Live Experience, featuring Aastha Gill and Rico. Dhol Tasha and When Chai Met Toast will complete the eclectic line-up on November 4, while Shilpa Ananth, Esther Eden and Peter Cat Recording Co will take to the same stage on November 5.

Food choices

Expo’s array of Indian restaurants will be dishing out Diwali treats, from high-end Indian dining courtesy of Rohit Ghai, to Diwali-themed baking classes at Bread Ahead Bakery, and a menu at Farrago.

2020 Club by Emaar will also serve a special menu to mark the occasion, while the no-frills Al Farwania will offer Indian fare.