Monday, November 27, 2023

Happy (Belated) Diwali from Dubai!

We celebrated Diwali for the first time with Indian neighbors and learned a lot about this special holiday. There's such a massive Indian population here; I once read they outnumber Emiratis in Dubai seven to one. I don't know how accurate that number is, but one of our neighbor's friends said being here feels just like they might as well be in India for the major holidays.

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, has become a national celebration in India for Hindu and non-Hindu communities alike. Different parts of India recognize the holiday as a commemoration of different events, but all generally united by the theme of good triumphing over evil. It's celebrated over multiple days.

In our part of town, fireworks lit up the sky and neighbors decorated balconies with festive lights and candles. In our apartment building, we saw beautiful rangoli, art made with powder and sand. The local mall was completely decked out floor to ceiling for the occasion, as well.

We had fun dancing the night away with our neighbors and their friends until the wee hours of the morning, but M and I are definitely getting older and can't party like we used to. We devoured the feast our hosts provided after midnight and made it until about 1:30am, but our neighbors kept the party going until well after 4am. We were so impressed at everyone's stamina!

It's wonderful to be included in others' traditions and learn more about their history and culture. It's one of my favorite things about living somewhere new. I already wanted to visit India terribly, but the more exposure I get here in Dubai the more I'm itching to go there. I hear it's not too far from the UAE, so I'm sure we'll make it out there someday. In the meantime, Happy (belated) Diwali to all readers who celebrate!

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