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Dubai: Diwali preparations were in full swing across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as Indian expats were readying to celebrate the 'festival of lights' on Sunday.

City-wide celebrations including fireworks, diya-lighting ceremony, Bollywood dance performances, festive markets, and an exclusive show called Haathi's Garden debuted in Dubai on Thursday, the Khaleej Times reported on Friday.

A special LED tea-lights presentation in a pre-prepared diya (earthen lamp) pattern during the special diya-lighting ceremony will be organised at Al Seef on Sunday.

Dubai Festival City Mall launched its fourth record-breaking IMAGINE show, 'Haathi's Garden' on Thursday. The show included a huge firework display and Bollywood dance shows free for the public. The first 5,000 guests on Festival Bay received free LED wristbands.

For the first time in the Middle East, visitors were also witness to the world-famous Elephant Parade exhibition with 50 life-size baby elephant sculptures created to raise awareness for elephant conservation globally.

Meanwhile, supermarkets selling traditional Indian paraphernalia were witnessing unprecedented crowds in Bur Dubai and Sharjah's Abu Shagara.

Geeta Bhatia, the marketing manager of the Madhur Supermarket in Dubai, told the Khaleej Times: "We are offering at least 400 varieties of 'toran' (a decorative wall hanging) being sold. The most popular products are diyas, earthen pots, electrical lights, candles, flowers, platforms, 'thalis' (plates), 'lotas' (metal pots), 'haldi Kumkum' (turmeric), sweets, and dried fruits.

"The Diwali shopping rush began two weeks ago, with 'Karva Chauth'. We are expecting a big rush on Friday as well."

Large crowds of shoppers were also seen thronging into gold shops at the Deira and Sharjah Gold Souq and Bur Dubai's little India, Meena Bazaar.

Sanjay Jethwani of Meena Jewellers said the crowds were expected to be highest on Friday.

"There have been several pre-orders which we expect people to collect on Friday. Polki jewellery is selling very well this time," he added.

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