Diwali 2016 is upon us this weekend and the festival of lights looks set to return with a bang! This festival is majorly celebrated by Sikhs, Hindus, Jains and other communities. The dates usually vary as per the lunar calendar.
Diwali 2016 will be celebrated with equal fervor in the United Kingdom. The UK has always celebrated Diwali with great pomp over the years. Countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia also have Diwali celebrations.
According to the Guardian, Diwali 2016 will be a five day festival like always. This festival will be celebrated till the 30th of October. The Independent further clarifies that Deepavali (Diwali) actually translates into “rows of lamps”.
Diwali is one time when people deck up their homes with the very best Diyas (earthen lamps), candles and other fancy lights. It is also a time for gifting loved ones and receiving truckloads of gifts in return. Bursting crackers is another activity that people indulge in at this time.
Several religious ceremonies are held during this time and the festival is held to worship Goddess Lakshmi. The Goddess of Wealth is worshipped and this is also one of the most frenzied shopping periods of the year. Hindus also mark this day as the one when Rama returned to Lanka to defeat Ravana and rescue Sita.
Sikhs have a different reason for the celebrations. They mark this festival to commemorate Guru Har Gobind’s feat. The Guru arrived at Amritsar’s Golden Temple after breaking out of prison. Jains believe that it marks the finding of Nirvana by Vardhamana, one of their earliest holy figures.
Diwali in the UK
In the United Kingdom, Leicester will quite naturally have gala Diwali events with approximately 37, 000 people slated to attend. This will be one of the biggest such celebrations outside India. Diwali 2016 will get bigger and better in the UK and several other cities will also play host to special events.
Some of these events will showcase India music, dance and theatre while there will be a two day festival at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir at London. The rituals and fireworks here are expected to be witnessed by thousands.
Of course, Diwali is incomplete without lip smacking food! Mithai (sweetmeats) is the popular pick. Popular picks include laddoos, Halwa, Barfi, Sohan Papdi, dry fruits, Moti Pak and more. Women in Indian families usually make these homemade snacks and this is a major social activity as well.