As COVID-19 sweeps across the world, it’s been having a major impact on all aspects of life including the way festivals are celebrated. Diwali, a major Indian festival, is being celebrated by Indians, mainly Hindus, across the world, on Saturday, November 14, 2020.
Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrates the triumphant return of Lord Rama, after 14 years in exile.
Traditional lamps, called diyas, are lit to welcome the Lord home and to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Another reason for lighting lamps is to welcome Goddess Lakshmi to their homes. Hindus believe that the goddess of wealth will visit their homes if they are clean, well lit and decorated.
Homes, shops and public buildings are lit with traditional diyas as well as multi-colored lights. There’s a lot of shopping done prior to festival. Gifts, mainly sweet boxes, are shared with employees, neighbors, family and friends. Parties are hosted by the rich and influential and fireworks are burst by all throughout the day.
This year celebrations have been muted in the US, the UK and Europe due to lockdowns and surges in coronavirus cases. In India, though the celebrations are less that that in earlier years, there’s still a festive spirit. People are allowed to burst green environmental friendly fireworks, at specific times. Temples are open with social distancing. Masks are essential.
Many people are enjoying the festival in a quieter way, with more familial bonding and simpler but more mindful shared experiences.