One of India’s biggest festivals, Diwali or the festival of lights – a celebration that symbolizes the victory of light over darkness – is typically marked by fireworks, socializing, exchanging gifts, and lighting oil lamps and candles. Although Diwali lasts five days, it is the third day of Diwali that is the most festive, with families exchanging gifts, preparing lavish dinners and sweets, setting off firecrackers and fireworks, and dancing. This year, the third day of Diwali falls on November 12.
Celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists at home and in the diaspora, Diwali falls between October and November of each year and marks the beginning of the Indian New Year. It is an occasion for people to buy silver and gold jewelry and utensils, clean and decorate their homes to invite in wealth and prosperity, and honor the god of death. During the five-day festival, which includes one day to honor the relationship between spouses and another to honor the relationship between siblings, people visit family and friends, wear new clothes, and feed the poor.
Diwali also marks the beginning of the Hindu financial year, with many businesses opening new account books.
Diwali in the UAE
While many schools across the UAE celebrate Diwali and give holidays to students, this year, some Indian schools have cancelled celebrations due to current events in Gaza.
Notably, jewelry sales get a big boost around Diwali, with one UAE-based jeweler telling Gulf News that 30-32 percent of their annual sales occur around the festival season. According to him, many people save up all year to buy gold jewelry during the season, noting that necklaces set with precious stones, in addition to bangles, bracelets, rings as well as gold bars and coins see season-high sales during Diwali.