Diwali – the Hindu festival of light – is a five day celebration of nature, learning and illumination and marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. With global expatriation ever on the rise, the festival is now celebrated worldwide. Although Diwali festivities have regional, religious and transcontinental variations, the event is known for its impressive decorations, light displays and fireworks, appreciated by Hindus and non-Hindus alike.
If you observe Diwali and are moving overseas, how might you expect the festival to be celebrated in your new home?
Celebrating Diwali in the UK
There are thriving Indian communities across the UK, meaning Diwali is widely celebrated. In many areas of Britain people mark the occasion by visiting their local temple and worshiping at the shrine of Lakshmi. The leaving of lamps on window sills, lighting up homes, eating special sweets and burning incense are all common practices. In a tradition started by Gordon Brown during his term as Prime Minister, Diwali is also celebrated in 10 Downing Street.
Celebrating Diwali in the US
President Barack Obama also celebrates Diwali as the festival was given official status in the White House in the 2000’s. While some large-scale Diwali events are held in the US, involving feasts, dancing and music, there is also an emphasis on the festival being about family and community.
Celebrating Diwali in Australia
Australians have embraced Diwali with the same enthusiasm as the UK and US, with the festival being publically celebrated by both local Australians and residence of Indian descent. Back in 2006 Celebrate India Inc began the Diwali Federation Square celebrations which have since become legendary.
Celebrating Diwali in Malaysia
If you’re living in Malaysia you’ll find that Diwali is a public holiday, with Hindu Malaysians holding open houses and inviting both observers and non-observers of the festival to dine together.
Celebrating Diwali in Nepal
While Diwali is celebrated over the same time period in Nepal as in India, the festival is known as either Swanti or Tihar. The celebration of animals during the festival is particular to Nepal, with many being specially fed and prayed over.
No matter where you’re celebrating Diwali this year, we hope you have a good one and enjoy all the beauty the festival has to offer.
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