Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, is celebrated by millions of people from all over the world every autumn.
This year, it falls on Sunday 30th October and here in the Coreco offices we are excited to be getting involved in the celebrations!
Diwali is a five-day festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Also known as Deepavali, the festival originated in India and is traditionally honoured within Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism.
The word Diwali means ‘rows of lighted lamps’ and those who celebrate it express happiness by lighting earthen ‘diyas’ (lamps). The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to God(s) for the attainment of good health, wealth, knowledge and peace. For many Indians, this five-day festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and the lamps are lit to help Lakshmi find her way into people’s homes.
In India, the rituals surrounding Diwali differ from region to region. In northern India, Diwali celebrates Rama’s return from fourteen years of exile to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his subsequent coronation as king. In Gujarat, the festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In Nepal, Diwali commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king, Narakaasura. In Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali.
Here in the Coreco offices, we will be celebrating with a traditional feast and music and by decorating the office with LED lights. Other traditions include spring-cleaning the home, shopping for and wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts (often sweets and dried fruits), preparing feasts for your nearest and dearest, decorating buildings with lights, and huge fireworks displays!
The main Diwali celebrations in London are held at Trafalgar Square at the beginning of the month but if you wish to join in the celebrations then you can still celebrate Diwali all over London this weekend.
There will be various fireworks displays; Canary Wharf will be holding celebrations every day until Sunday, including some Bollywood performances on Friday 28th October. There will also be an impressive display at the Canary Wharf floating flower installation that is sure to fascinate.
If you’re more interested in a cultural tour about Deepavali, you could try a walk through Southall that will take you through the sights and flavours the celebration has to offer. If you’re feeling like you need a bit more Zen and a lot more flexibility in your life, why not try the meditation and yoga at Highbury?
There’s a Diwali celebration at Walthamstow that can offer entertainment for the whole family, including music and fireworks. Or, for a more intellectual and mellow celebration, you could head to storytelling and festive lunch in Soho.
Happy Diwali, everyone! Enjoy the celebrations!