Diwali, one of the most important festivals in India, began with the main festivals taking place on Thursday, 14 November.
Every year, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains from all over the world celebrate Diwali. The festival symbolizes new beginnings and the victory of good over evil and light on darkness.
The celebration usually lasts for five days, and includes gathering with family members, sharing delicious food, watching spectacular fireworks and visiting temples.
The streets, houses, shops and public buildings are decorated with small oil lamps made of clay, called “diyas“, which illuminate them with a warm, festive light.
This part of the festival embraces the legend of the Hindu god Lord Rama and his return to his kingdom after fourteen years of exile. Light is a symbol of purity, good fortune and power.
Hindus in cities and villages around the world also believe that Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth during Diwali, will visit their homes if they are illuminated, clean and beautifully decorated.
Lakshmi Puja, which includes prayer rituals, is also an important part of Hinduism. It is a time to thank and pray for a good harvest.
But as the coronovirus epidemic continues to plan for mass gatherings and many countries remain in lockdown, this year’s Diwali will be very different for many.
Experts have also warned that coronovirus cases may increase by gathering in groups to celebrate Diwali, especially in the capital of India where infections are already on the rise, with India entering the air pollution season .
Here’s how the festival is being celebrated around the world in 2020.
People expect it to be different
Rahi Chaddha, a model, actor and fashion influencer in London, tells CNN Travel that Kovid and the current English lockdown forced her to cancel plans for her annual Diwali dinner parties, which are usually her thirty friends and family. Completes
England is currently in the midst of a national lockdown that bans home mixing, so Chaddha is cooking for her parents this year.
“Places of worship are closed and the tradition of visiting the temple is not really happening this year,” he explains.
Chaddha usually enjoys the process of buying firecrackers and decorating their home in the lead up to Diwali.
“This year you don’t feel the motivation to do it because it’s an epidemic and it feels so different,” he says.
The reference to Kovid also adds a different dynamic to the celebration, adds Chaddha.
“We are celebrating a happy and safe Diwali in our homes, but there are people who have recently lost a loved one due to coronovirus, so it may not be the happiest Diwali for them,” he says. They say.
As an influential figure, Chaddha knows that he has the responsibility to celebrate Diwali safely and wholeheartedly, as his 800,000+ Instagram followers are watching.
But she is grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this year, even if it is more less important this year.
“I am healthy and my loved ones are around me. It just makes you realize that all those years of celebrations and celebrations, to an extent, allow you to put an end to it.
We just have to appreciate the occasion And for whom to celebrate. It is, and an epidemic cannot kill your vibe, “he says.
According to research by global digital payment company WorldRemit, 45% of the UK’s South Asian community were expected to travel abroad to visit family and friends by the end of this week, until the second coronavirus wave in the country The travel restrictions imposed did not mean people had to look closely. To home.
Ajay Devnarayanan, a 22-year-old student from Devon, England, tells CNN Travel that in exchange for meeting and celebrating, his family continues to share hopeful, thoughtful messages through social media group chats.
Devnarayan says the conversation revolves around how the true essence of Diwali is finding positivity in the moment, and being grateful for health and happiness. Mass celebrations are not necessary; Spending significant time with people close to you.
For those celebrating Diwali, social media and video calls are an important way to allow people to connect with their loved ones in a Kovid-safe manner.
Kiran Hothi and Sonam Kaur, who run the media platform NotYourWife and celebrate, “We are all getting ready as usual, but will make a huge zoom call to make our prayers light up our candles / lamps . ” Tell the voices of South Asian women across Britain, CNN Travel via email.
“We are also conducting an online quiz for our family and friends. For the older members of our family, we made sure they were in the support bubble or we gave them some serious zoom training pre-lockdown.”
It brought all of us closer as a family
Across the pond in the US, 26-year-old Neha Sharma, a dancer in Los Angeles, California, says she will miss the huge parties and firecrackers that usually feature her family’s Diwali celebrations, but she is finding joy in it -Home Festival.
“I’m going to celebrate the festival of lights at home by wearing traditional Indian clothes, making candles, sweets, and decorating the house! And of course FaceTime / Zoom The Family.”
Fellow LA resident Sourav Dutt has got creative with his video call fest.
Family members are already sending the recipe to each other, he says, and they will disclose their efforts during the call.
“We are organizing a special singing game, a singing game called Antakshari, in which you are in teams, as well as a Bollywood quiz,” says Dutt.
“It works amazingly well on the zoom; children in families have also made rangoli paintings that will be judged on call. We are also joining a special family in India, who are making fireworks in their large gardens . “
In Canada, c, who works as a civilian representative in British Columbia, says she sees Diwali as the beginning of the new year and the time to start afresh. The year is no different on that front, but celebrations are different in other ways.
“Plans have definitely changed,” she tells CNN Travel. “We usually celebrate with sweets and salty snacks shared between our family and friends. We go to our friends’ house and Light Sparkler and my kids and I go to the temple, as well as Dia. Lighting and making some fun rangoli designs. Outside our house. “
This year Galbraith is just celebrating with his immediate family. She is making her snacks and sweets, and is teaching her daughter how to make them.
It comes with its own delight.
“My friends have been sharing videos / photos on WhatsApp with each other and we are all pushing each other to make new foods. We will also be using sparklers in our backyard and light diyas! “
For fellow Canadian Amal Dave, who works at the Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto, Diwali has always started with cleaning her house.
“I don’t usually use the words ‘celebration’ and ‘cleansing’ in the same sentence, but with Diwali it signifies new beginnings and a new beginning,” he says.
This year, he is also receiving video calls and virtual greetings.
“We usually visit the temple here for Diwali worship, but this was not possible due to the current circumstances,” he says. “Instead, my mother worshiped at home and virtually celebrated with the rest of our family.
For Dave, past insolvents also visited relatives in India and enjoyed large celebrations. But he says some of the smaller scale options have been equally special.
His family usually buys and enjoys a lot of sweet treats, but this year they switched to making dishes at home.
“[It] turned out to be a better experience,” Dave says. “It brought us closer as a family because we got to spend more time with each other.”
Naomi Canton contributed to this article.