We spoke with Sonia Haria, Vanita Parti, Pavan Dhanjal BEM, and Aarti P to find out what they are doing this year to celebrate the festival.
What is Diwali?
Emma Cooke, The Telegraph, explains that Diwali is a five-day festival of lights, which celebrates a number of themes, including joy, forgiveness, knowledge, the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and the legend of Rama and Sita. Put simply, the festival represents the triumph of good over evil. Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world take part by decorating houses and public spaces with thousands of lights, candles and colourful designs. As well as the bright colours and glittering lights, there’s music, dancing, delicious food and a cresting wave of community feeling.
When is Diwali?
This festival takes place in October or November each year, on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartik. In the Telegraph article, Emma explores what happens each day of Diwali:
- Day one: “Dhanteras”. Dedicated to celebrating prosperity and the arrival of the goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to have emerged from the ocean on this day. “Dhan” means wealth and “teras” refers to the 13th day of a lunar fortnight on the Hindu calendar.
- Day two: Naraka Chaturdasi or Chhoti Diwali (small Diwali). The demon Narakasura was destroyed by Lord Krishna and Kali on this day. This day is celebrated with early morning rituals or puja.
- Day three: Amavasya (new moon day) or Lakshmi Puja. The darkest day of the month is also the most significant, being dedicated to the celebration of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, prosperity and beauty.
- Day four: Govardhan Puja. Frequently celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated Indra, the god of thunder and rain, and also the start of a new year.
- Day five: Bhai Dooj. A day for celebrating the bond between siblings, with sisters praying for long and happy lives for their brothers and sharing food and gifts.
How are you celebrating Diwali?
We spoke with Sonia Haria, Vanita Parti, Pavan Dhanjal BEM, and Aarti P to find out what they were doing this year to celebrate Diwali.
“Although we will be unable to gather with our friends and family, we will be celebrating Diwali with more colour and sparkle than ever. This year we all need the Festival of Light to brighten our year ahead with positivity and optimism, so I will be decorating my house with even more candles! Spending the day with the wonders of technology with the love and connection we all have in our hearts for our loved ones and listening to lots of festive music to lift our spirit and of course delicious treats to sweeten up the year ahead.” – Aarti P
Vanita explained that she “will be celebrating with my immediate family. We dress for the occasion in Indian traditional clothing. We do a small prayer and then enjoy Indian sweets, sparklers and a big vegetarian feast. It is a time for light and hope – very welcome right now, although we will miss extended members of the family.”
“Diwali is a little different this year, as we’d usually celebrate with family. But we are going to make it small and just as special this year: my two sons will (carefully!) light some candles, and will help me make lots of delicious sweet treats tomorrow to door-stop drop to family in the coming days. We’ll be making ‘gulab jamun’ – my absolutely favourite dessert, basically Indian doughnuts in a rosewater syrup. Yum!” – Sonia Haria
Pavan explained that “Diwali has always been about 3 things for us, that has been family, food and fireworks! This year we will try and incorporate as much of that as possible, there will be lots of cooking, divas and prayers to give thanks for getting through this crazy year. I look at this festival from a spiritual side and although it will be a quiet one, it will be one to reflect and show gratitude”
From all of us at the British Beauty Council, Happy Diwali!