Muted Holi just as bright, colourful for Indian expats in UAE

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on March 28, 2021
Supplied photo

Usually, the famous Indian spring festival is a community affair, where people would come together to play with colours and enjoy traditional food.

For the second year in a row, Indian expatriates observed muted Holi celebrations on Sunday.

Usually, the famous Indian spring festival is a community affair, where people would come together to play with colours and enjoy traditional food. However, due to the pandemic, celebrations have primarily become an intimate, family-only affair — but still, the spirit of the festival remained just as vibrant.

Residents chose to celebrate with their closest friends and family members while being mindful of social distancing norms. Madhulika Chatterjee, an Indian expatriate and a Dubai-based freelancer, said, “It has been a year of no festivities. We haven’t been going out either, except for when it is necessary. So, the Holi festivities, even though they were muted, were a pleasant experience.”

She said her family and friends were mindful of the Covid-19 regulations, and even throwing colours were limited to a brief moment. “We sat apart from each other and enjoyed traditional food and beverages and played with colours for a while,” she added.

Priya Awatramani, a resident of Arabian Ranches, said, “We kept the number of people attending well under 10 people, and we arranged everything in the backyard of our home. Except when we’re taking pictures, we had our masks on all the time.”

Awatramani also ensured that all attendees had received jabs. “We had a two-metre distance maintained between the guests as well,” she added.

Moitri Maiti, who works in the education sector, said, “For a year, the pandemic has been making us feel very low. We took this opportunity to infuse some positivity and good cheer to our lives while being mindful of the UAE’s Covid-19 rules and regulations.”

Gopal Kokani, the Guru Darbar Sindhi Temple’s general manager in Bur Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the temple management decided to avoid Holi celebrations this year due to Covid-19.

“We’re doing absolutely nothing. We’ve not had the practice of celebrating Holi since the very beginning, irrespective of the viral outbreak. Celebrations don’t take place in the Shiva or the Krishna temples (Hindu deities),” said Kokani.

There were no celebrations at the Shrinathji (Krishna) Temple, too.

“Even in India, especially in cities such as Mumbai, where Holi celebrations are a grand affair, a lockdown is in place. We must respect the laws of the land and ensure that rules are strictly followed,” Kokani added.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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