Happy Diwali? Why the festival of lights is looking dim this year

Photo by: Sandeep Kr Yadav. Photo from: Unsplash

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.

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.

Below is the itinerary:

Photo from: www.diwaliinlondon.com


Other alternatives:

Most notably, the floating flower divas at Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Park. A free display until November 15th.

Photo by: Vanya Petyova


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.

Photo by: Anuj Datta


Public opinion is divided on excitement levels this year:

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 

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