Diwali, the Indian festival of lights is just around the corner (it falls on October 19 this year) and let’s face it – you’ve probably already snuck into the mithai boxes. Luckily, the UAE has plenty of Diwali celebrations to keep you entertained and on your feet, so you’ll be able to have fun as well as burn a few calories and slip into those brand-new festive outfits.
1. Diwali at Bollywood Parks
Bollywood Parks is going big with their Diwali celebrations, which run until October 21. The park will be decorated with lights, it will have a market selling snacks, dance performances, and fountain and light shows every evening. Train your eyes to the skies above Rajmahal Theatre for a fireworks display. On October 20, a free concert by Bollywood singer Mika Singh (TBC) will be held at the park.
Dh95 per person; visit dubaiparksandresorts.com.
2. Diwali at BurJuman
BurJuman is celebrating Diwali with its Indian Festival until October 21. There’ll be India-themed games and giveaways at a colourful tent in the mall’s atrium from 4-10pm; traditional dances will be performed from 6-8pm. You can also give artistic activities like pottery painting and diya decoration a go while you’re there or check out outfits from Indian labels such as Fab India and Ritu Kumar.
3. Diwali at Al Bustan Shopping Centre
Al Bustan Shopping Centre in Al Qusais has a Diwali shopping fiesta today. Kiosks by local and international brands will feature clothes, jewellery, home décor and arts and crafts; free gifts will also be handed out at the venue. While mums get their hands painted with henna, the kids can get their faces painted.
Free entry; from 10am-1pm. Call 050 4858762.
4. Diwali at City Centre Al Shindagha
City Centre Al Shindagha is hosting celebrations until October 22 with a bhangra dance troupe doing daily performances in rickshaws, handing out bangles to visitors. Rangoli artists will create patterns on the floor from 4-8pm daily and guests will also have the opportunity to have their hands painted with henna. There will also be diya- and lantern-making workshops for kids.
5. Diwali with Gulf Photo Plus and Frying Pan Adventures
Gulf Photo Plus and foodie tour experts Frying Pan Adventures (run by Friday’s food columnist Arva Ahmed) have a Diwali Unseen Trails tour of Bur Dubai on October 19. Budding photographers can discover how Dubai’s vibrant Indian expat community celebrates the festival as the neighbourhood turns into a kaleidoscope of colours and lights, and stop at Bur Dubai’s best street eats and restaurants.
Dh595 per person; the five-hour tours start at 6pm and 6.30pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Diwali at Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn in Bur Dubai is where you’ll find WoW Diwali Utsav, an indoor market with 60 exhibitors selling festive products such as clothes, jewellery, home décor and candles. The event will also feature a food corner with chaat, sandwiches, kulfis and more.
Free entry; from 10am-9pm. Call 050 7556078.
7. Diwali with Splash n Party
Splash n Party is swapping fireworks for water guns on October 19, when kids and an accompanying adult can party in the waterpark with stilt walkers, dancers, jugglers and a DJ.
From 4-8pm; Dh100 per child. Call 04 3883008.
8. Diwali at The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi
The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi (WTCAD) is celebrating Diwali on October 20 with a performance by Bollywood singer Neha Bhasin. Also watch out for performances of traditional dance forms such as Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Bhangra, Dandiya, and Laavni. Those with an artistic bent can get their hands dirty and colourful at the rangoli making competition.