x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Indian expats in the UAE shop for gold ahead of Diwali

Diwali, the festival of lights, will be celebrated on Tuesday, with many homes already decked out with traditional lights and lanterns.

Indian expatriates in the UAE throng gold shops at the start of the Diwali festival as the first day is considered an auspicious time to buy jewellery.
Indian expatriates in the UAE throng gold shops at the start of the Diwali festival as the first day is considered an auspicious time to buy jewellery.

DUBAI// Indian expatriates are thronging gold shops to mark the start of the three-day long Diwali festival.

Dhanteras, the first day of Diwali, is considered an auspicious time to buy jewellery and clothes. Gold shops were doing brisk business on Sunday and some were hoping to sell more than 10kg of gold by the end of the day.

Diwali, the festival of lights, will be celebrated on Tuesday.

"We are having a lot of customers," said Shenaz Sheikh, cashier at Meena Jewellers in Bur Dubai.

"During Dhanteras, we usually sell more than 10kg of gold. People will continue buying this way until Diwali."

Diwali, which translates to a row of lights, is celebrated by lighting earthen lamps to signify the journey from darkness to light.

The festival marks the return of the ancient King of Ayodhya, Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to his kingdom, ending 14 years of exile, after a war in which he killed the demon king, Ravana.

It is believed that even the poorest of families in Ayodhya lit at least one terracotta lamp filled with oil along the way to guide their path through the darkness.

Ms Sheikh said 8g gold coins and uncut diamonds were in demand this year, with the festival pushing up gold prices.

"Last week the price for a gram of gold was Dh189 but this week it had increased to Dh194."

However, that is not deterring customers.

Staff at Malabar Gold's Bur Dubai branch expect to sell 8kg by the end of the day.

"We usually sell two kilos a day, but since it's Diwali there is a gold rush," said Ajman Hussain, a sales executive. "We have a target of 8kg.

"More people will come in the evening to buy after they finish work. We expect this trend to continue until the day after Diwali."

Keeping with the spirit of the festival, homes and businesses have decorated balconies with lights, particularly in Bur Dubai and Karama.

pkannan@thenational.ae