Diwali, one of India’s most important festivals, kicked off on Thursday, with the main festivities taking place on Saturday, November 14.
Every year, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world celebrate Diwali. The holiday symbolizes new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
The festivities typically last five days and include reuniting with family members, sharing tasty food, watching spectacular fireworks, and visiting temples.
The streets, houses, shops and public buildings are decorated with small terracotta oil lamps called “diyas”, illuminating them with a warm and festive glow.
This part of the festival recognizes the Hindu god Lord Rama and the legend of his return to his kingdom after fourteen years of exile. The light symbolizes purity, luck and power.
Hindus in cities and towns around the world also believe that during Diwali, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth Lakshmi will visit their homes if they are lighted, clean and well furnished.
Lakshmi puja, which involves a prayer ritual, is also an important part of the Hindu religion. Now is the time to thank and pray for a good harvest.
But as the coronavirus pandemic continues to halt mass rally plans and many countries remain stranded, this year’s Diwali will be very different for many.
Experts have also warned that gathering in groups to celebrate Diwali could lead to an increase in coronavirus cases, especially in the Indian capital where infections are already on the rise, exacerbated by India’s entry into the annual season of pollution. atmospheric.
Here’s how the festival is celebrated around the world in 2020.
‘It looks very different’
London-based model, actor and fashion influencer Rahi Chadda told CNN Travel that Covid and the current British bloc have forced him to cancel plans for his annual Diwali dinners, which typically host around 30. of his friends and family.
England are currently in the middle of a national bloc banning home mixing, so Chadda will only be cooking for her parents this year.
“The places of worship are closed and the tradition of going to the temple is not really happening this year,” he explains.
Chadda generally enjoys buying fireworks and decorating her house for Diwali.
“This year you don’t feel the motivation to do it because it’s a pandemic and it looks very different,” he says.
The Covid context also adds a different dynamic to the celebrations, adds Chadda.
“We can have a happy and safe Diwali in our home, but there are people who have recently lost a loved one to the coronavirus, so it might not be the happiest Diwali for them,” says -he.
As an influencer, Chadda understands that she has a responsibility to celebrate Diwali in a safe and conscious way, while her more than 800,000 Instagram followers are watching her.
But he is grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate, even if this year is more low-key.
“I’m healthy and my loved ones are around me. It just makes you realize that during all these years of celebration and celebration, to some extent you end up taking it for granted. We just have to appreciate and celebrate it. ‘opportunity for what it is, and the pandemic can’t kill your vibes, ”he adds.
According to a study by global digital payment company WorldRemit, 45% of the UK’s South Asian community hoped to travel abroad to visit family and friends this weekend, until travel restrictions imposed by the second wave of coronavirus in the country meant people needed to take a closer look. at home.
Ajay Devanarayanan, 22, a student from Devon, England, told CNN Travel that instead of meeting and celebrating together, his family shared hopeful and thoughtful messages via a group chat on the networks social.
Devanarayanan says the conversations revolved around how the essence of Diwali is to find positivity in the moment and be grateful for health and happiness. There is no need for large-scale celebrations; the important thing is to keep the time spent with your loved ones.
For those celebrating Diwali, social media and video calling are a crucial way for people to connect with loved ones in a Covid-safe manner.