Sparkle, sans fireworks, in Diwali celebrations in Gulf

By Aroonim Bhuyan, IANS,

Dubai : The prevailing global financial crisis did not stop the vast expatriate Indian population in the Gulf from celebrating Diwali with traditional fervour. There were little fireworks as local rules do not allow that.

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Devotees thronged a temple in Bur Dubai in the heart of this west Asian metropolis since morning. Houses were decorated with lights and earthen lamps though fireworks were kept to the minimum because of local rules.

“Previously we did have fireworks but nowadays, because of local rules banning this, we celebrate Diwali without fireworks,” Utpal Kataky, a long time resident of Dubai, told IANS.

“We prefer to stay at home and host friends who drop in,” he added.

The financial crisis also did not affect Diwali spending by Indians in the region.

“Not at all,” Sudhanasu Sharma, another Dubai resident, said when asked if his spending was in any way lesser this time than last year.

“In fact, I bought a new car to celebrate Diwali this year. Although my net worth has gone down a little because of the financial crisis, our celebrations remained the same,” he said.

With prices of gold falling, touching around 80 dirhams ($21) a gram, people flocked jewellery shops to buy the yellow metal.

Many shops reportedly ran out of stock of the precious metal due to the Diwali rush.

Many expatriates also went to India to do their Diwali shopping.

“I got all special saris from Pune. We do get to buy saris here but you do not get enough variety. But my gold shopping was done here,” Janvi Kapadia, a Dubai resident, told the Gulf News.

In Oman, Tuesday’s celebrations were preceded by a three-day Diwali event at the Indian embassy in Muscat.

The Indian mission, along with the Indian Social Club Muscat, arranged the Diwali festivities at the Embassy lawns in Al Khuwair during Oct 25-27, which culminated with an evening of rendition of Mohammed Rafi’s songs by local artistes.

Stalls of henna, tattoos, rangoli (colourful floor decorations), artificial jewellery, handicrafts and other products from India attracted the invitees.

The festivities in the Gulf, which is home to around 4.8 million expatriate Indians, have not ended yet as Indian organizations are planning more functions in the weekend ahead.

In Bahrain, the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam is organizing a grand show Thursday evening to mark both Diwali and Keralappiravi, the anniversary of the formation of the state of Kerala.