What is Diwali?
Diwali is celebrated by both Sikhs and Hindus but for different reasons. It is mainly known as The Festival of Light.
The date of Diwali changes every year. This year it was on 27 October… if you celebrated I hope you enjoyed it!
Bandi Chhor Divas (Diwali) is a celebration to remember when one of the religious leaders (Gurus) went inside the prison of Gwalior Fort and helped to free 52 political leaders who were sent inside the prison. The reason this Guru went into prison in the first place was to help cure and release a curse. The release from prison of the sixth Guru Hargobind Singh happened in 1619 but Sikhs celebrated the festival Diwali before this date anyway.
In the celebration of Diwali, candles are lit to symbolise taking away the darkness from people’s lives. It represents giving out positivity and light to brighten up people’s lives. Sikhs believe you can light the divas (candle) inside of you as well through Gurbani (the hymns and Sikh teachings). This inspires other people and has saved people too.
Hindus celebrate the return of deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile. They also celebrate the day Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha. To watch a video on how Hindus celebrate their six days of Diwali in Mumbai please click here.
Events in the UK
The most local event for you if you’re studying at UCB is at Summer Row on the Mezzanine Level. If you missed it this year I’m sure you can go next year instead. This year there was an Indian buffet, traditional music, henna artists and sari tying lessons. 😉
Soho Road temple
This is located in Birmingham as well so if you live close to UCB it will be ideal for you as well!
As my boyfriend is Sikh, we went to the Sikh temple on Soho Road to celebrate Diwali. The atmosphere is lovely there! Everyone is welcome 🙂
First, we went into the temple to pray and eat. Afterwards, we went outside to light some candles. There was a cameraman outside so I said to my boyfriend “shall we get our photo taken?”… but it turned out, he was filming live for the TV News… oops! Haha, good job my boyfriend told me I was being stupid before I asked for a photo!
Trafalgar Square London
Obviously, if you’re living near UCB, Trafalgar Square isn’t very local but you can get the train into London Euston from Birmingham New Street Station and then get the London Underground from there…
At Trafalgar Square, it is free to attend the Diwali celebration event and there are lots of activities happening such as:
- Dance performance
- Yummy Indian food
- Community stalls
- Yoga and meditation zone
- Dance workshops
- Sari draping lessons
- Diwali culture zone to understand the spiritual significance of Diwali
- A glimpse of Hindu goddesses
- Children’s zone
- Arts and crafts
If you’re feeling really adventurous then the best place to go to in India for Diwali is probably Mumbai!!
I will definitely be going to Mumbai at some point to celebrate Diwali as the atmosphere seems to be amazing.
You can visit:
- Marine Drive – Queen’s Necklace on Diwali night to see the colourful firework displays while sitting by the sea
- The Gateway of India for another amazing light display
- The wonderful malls in Mumbai such as Infiniti, Raghuleela, Phoenix and R City. They are decorated beautifully and have major discounts on products and services!!
Thanks for reading 🙂