This week over 1 billion people worldwide are participating in Diwali festivities. Diwali is one of the largest celebrations across India, and it is an official holiday in many countries around the world, including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji. This exciting holiday marks the Hindu calendar’s new year and commemorates the triumph of good over evil.
While Diwali is mostly celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, they are not the only ones to celebrate; people of other beliefs and backgrounds make up almost 20% of those celebrating across the globe!
The term “diwali” comes from the Sanskrit term, Deepavali, which means row of lights. During this five-day period, cities in countries across the western world have fireworks and celebrations to mark this festive time. The homes of many people celebrating are lit up with ‘diyas’ (small clay lamps), and the outside of their homes are decorated with electric lights. Intricate rangoli art, which are patterns on the floor created by either rice or colored powder, can also be found inside of homes during this time.
Each day of Diwali has a different significance, and often family, friends and neighbors will come together to celebrate, eat lavish meals and exchange gifts and pleasantries. Incense, Indian spice and burning firecrackers are all familiar scents during this time, and these smells become full of special memories for those who celebrate.
After a tough year with COVID-19, Diwali 2021 celebrations may not be as loud and colorful as previous years, but the festival still remains a time for positivity and hope. During this time, the peace and love brought to the communities celebrating can be felt throughout the globe.
To our family, friends, partners and volunteers, we hope that this festival of lights brings you peace, prosperity, success, health and an abundance of love and happiness!