diwali show at dubai festival city
Thousands of Dubai residents, majority of them hailing from India, were present to witness the Diwali-themed ‘Imagine’ show followed by the fireworks Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: A splendid fireworks display accompanied by a laser, light and water multi-sensory extravaganza created an electrifying atmosphere and thrilled the Diwali revellers at Dubai Festival City Mall on Sunday night.

Thousands of Dubai residents, majority of them hailing from India, were present to witness the Diwali-themed ‘Imagine’ show followed by the fireworks, the main highlights of a series of festivities organised across Dubai for this year’s Indian festival of lights.

The Haathi show, which tells the story of an elephant cub, was beamed onto the buildings while the following laser show, accompanied by the fountain dance, showcased dancers shaking their legs to the tunes of Bollywood songs even as the massive fireworks lit up the Dubai skyline.

“It was like a mini rock show. The atmosphere was really electrifying. People were demanding for more and more. Everyone loved the ‘dhol’ performance by the Maharashtrian artists as well,” said Dubai resident Randall Rosario.

“It was great to see a lot of Indians and people of other nationalities dancing to the tunes of Bollywood songs and chilling out. There was a huge crowd for the fireworks. Everyone seemed to enjoy the mega festivities post COVID-19. It was coincidental that we Indians also got to celebrate the victory of our cricket team at the T20 World Cup match yesterday,” said Rosario who hails from Mumbai.

While malls and restaurants across Dubai witnessed Diwali parties over the weekend, several residents celebrated at home with puja (prayer) and family get-togethers on Monday.

Several offices also hosted Diwali celebrations with people decorating their workplaces with lights and diyas (lamps) and distributing Diwali sweets. Many people took leave to join the celebrations as well.

‘It’s about family time’

For the Sahityanis from Rajasthan, Diwali means a time to get together with all members of the extended family in Dubai.

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Diwali is an occasion for the Sahityanis to have loads of fun with all the members of the extended family living in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

“The festival of lights for us is a festival of giving, sharing and having loads of fun with our loved ones,” said Sonia Sahityani, who has lived in Dubai since she was four.

“We celebrate Diwali so fondly here as my parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, my in-laws and my entire extended family and friends reside here,” she said.

From cleaning the homes and offices to preparing sweets and decorating the houses with rangoli, diyas and lights, the festival brings together everyone.

“We started the day by doing puja in our office in the morning which was followed by lunch with our entire staff. We gave sweets and gifts to all. Evening is all about wearing new clothes, lighting up the house with diyas, doing puja with my family and then comes the fun part where all of us visit the family members and exchange love and good vibes. Our glam Diwali parties start before Diwali and continues till the end of the month.”

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‘Dubai Diwali is unique’

Anu Chopra from Jammu, who has been living in Dubai for 14 years, said Diwali in Dubai gets bigger and more beautiful every year.

“I have lived in India where I was born and raised and obviously in the traditional way, there were so many crackers out on the street during Diwali. Distributing gifts and goodies to so many people starts two to three days before. When I moved on to the US, it was very different there. It was more about just weekends and just going to temples and Gurudwara and having some Diwali bashes. When I came to Dubai, it was just unbelievable. It’s like you’re living in India, outside India,” she said.

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Dubai-based Indian couples Anu and Vikram Chopra (L) and Sonia and Vimal Sahityani (R) share the festive spirit of Diwali in traditional outfits Image Credit: Supplied

She added that the cultural mix of Dubai is unique. “It’s a mix of all the states of India together. With lights and music, the festive atmosphere is so beautiful. The whole family waits for the Diwali festival. There are parties and gatherings. We do prayers and host parties. We entertain people, decorate our homes. So many houses in our locality in our neighbourhood in Jumeirah Park are beautifully decorated with lights and it is surreal.”