UAE: Indian expatriates mark regional New Year celebrations

Expats from various states celebrate Vishu, Bihu, Baisakhi, Pohela Boishakh festivals



Supplied photo
Supplied photo
by

Dhanusha Gokulan

/

Nandini Sircar

Published: Fri 15 Apr 2022, 9:31 PM

Indian communities across the UAE celebrated multiple festivals on Friday. Indian expatriates rang in the spring festivals of Bihu, Baisakhi and Vishu with colourful and traditional celebrations over the weekend.

Baisakhi, the harvest festival of Punjab, fell on April 14, and Vishu, the Malayalee New Year, was celebrated on April 15. The festival is also observed in parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

After two years of muted celebrations and strictly family-only festivities, scores of Keralites in the UAE welcomed Vishu with great pomp and splendour on Friday. Retail outlets and flower shops experienced brisk sales due to the bumper festivities season. V Nandakumar, director of marketing and communications at Lulu Group, said the retail giant launched special Vishu speciality counters that offered discounts on festive paraphernalia.

He said: “We have been seeing good demand for all items related to Vishu this week. Since this is the first festival amid the post-pandemic relaxation mode, we see the Malayalee community engage in weekend-long celebrations.”

He added: “For two years, we did not have any celebrations. However, this year several community groups and associations are holding celebrations.”

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On Friday, one company organised a special Vishu sadya Iftar for its staff. Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels, said Friday’s Iftar would be a Vishu sadya. “It is something new, and Vishu is an important festival for Malayalees.”

On Friday, the Bengali community celebrated Pohela Boishakh or the Bengali New Year. Anuradha Goswami, an expatriate, said, “Pohela Boishakh or Bengali New Year is known as Nobo Borso and is celebrated with a lot of fanfare back home, especially in Kolkata and the state of West Bengal. Usually, people wear new clothes and delicacies are prepared. But this year, as my son’s board exams are approaching and he has been studying for long hours indoors, we thought of going out together as a family.”

She added: “So, we went to a restaurant in Oudh Mehta that organises a Bengali buffet around this time of the year. They will have a special menu for three days (over the weekend). In fact, in JLT itself, another new restaurant has come up, and it will also be offering a Bengali buffet over the weekend to celebrate our New Year.”

Susmita Sircar, who is visiting her daughter this year in Dubai during the festival, said: “I made dum aloo, yellow rice (Basanti pulao), moong dal, and ilish maach (Hilsa fish) for my grandson who especially loves eating this pulao that is sweet than the regular rice preparation.”

She said: “We add a lot of dry fruits to the rice. So, my daughter, son-in-law, grandson, husband, and I enjoyed the meal together. Food is a vital part of Pohela Boishakh celebrations; an occasion celebrated with much enthusiasm in the Eastern part of the country.”

nandini@khaleejtimes.com

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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