Lights, Camera… No action! – Has the pandemic dampened celebrations or are Londoners looking on the bright side?
Diwali is the biggest celebration of the year for Hindus and Sikhs. Religiously, it represents a story of triumph, and for those who celebrate, it involves getting the whole family together. However, Diwali this year is occurring in the middle of lockdown 2.0.
— AsianJunction (@AsianJunctionUK) November 9, 2020
This means no extended family gatherings, no street parties, and no Diwali in Trafalgar Square – the marquee celebration in London.
The festival in the square attracts thousands of visitors each year and puts on live comedy acts, music performances, and an array of fresh Indian food stalls. It truly is a feast for the senses. Last year, the mayor of London attended to address the crowd which was a special touch. This was followed by a parade, and interactive workshops for the children to get involved with.
It isn’t limited to religious observers only, there was a diverse mix of people who collectively wanted to partake in a celebration. So how do we celebrate this year?
The Diwali in the square team have chosen to host a five-day virtual event, to keep spirits up and give people a chance to come together, albeit online.
Diwali- the festival of lights is happening this year in the middle of lockdown.
The Diwali in London (DiL) committee, in partnership with the MAYOR OF LONDON, brings Diwali On Trafalgar Square (DOTS) to London.
Click here to find out more: https://t.co/z59O4SYCtS pic.twitter.com/VpgH5WkaKx
— Hartwig Care (@HartwigCare) November 12, 2020
Below is the itinerary:
— Time Out London (@TimeOutLondon) November 12, 2020
Most notably, the floating flower divas at Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Park. A free display until November 15th.
Traditionally to start the day, families would visit a temple to give offerings and attend morning prayers. London is home to the largest Hindu temple in Europe.
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, more commonly known as Neasden temple, is breathtaking in its architectural design. Unfortunately, it won’t be lighting up the night sky on Saturday as it remains closed.
Public opinion is divided on excitement levels this year:
— Voice Of London UK (@VoiceOfLondonUK) November 11, 2020
Omg Diwali is on Saturday and it’s lockdown in London and now it’s going to be Me, Indian takeaways and Bollywood 😭😭💕.
— 🇵🇸🇿🇦 Angry Brown Woman (@Karishma_Mgn) November 11, 2020
Rajan, 25, from London is one of the people I spoke to about his Diwali plans. “Diwali represents good over evil and what more of a representation is there than what we are going through right now.”
Hear what others had to say:
However you choose to celebrate, have a fun and safe Diwali!
Words: Anuj Datta | Subbing: Monika Groening | Audio: Anuj Datta