My Experience of Diwali as a British Asian
This time of year is always special, as the days are shorter, and the air is a lot chillier celebrating Diwali; the festival of light sure does make it feel a little bit warmer.
As a British Asian born in the midlands, Diwali has always been special to me. It marks the beginning of the festive period, a time to connect with friends and family.
As a young boy, the run up to Diwali was always fun. I’d see the elders in the family conduct religious rituals praying for happiness, health, wealth and prosperity to loved ones for the upcoming new year.
As a child we would get together at my grandma’s house, where you would find mountains of food for the family accompanied by a wonderful array of sweet treats in all shapes and sizes. As a little kid, I would happily demolish all the different types of barfi’s (Indian sweets) we’d get gifted and the fried sweet goodies my auntie would make.
As a teenager I was able to extend the celebrations with close friends, we would go in groups to the nearest city (Leicester) to celebrate the Diwali lights being switched on and watch a grand firework display. I’d remember this trip required several layers in the cold winters and a tonne of patience battling through the large crowds.
Now as a young man, as I’ve flown the nest by moving to London, I’ve taken more of an interest in re-connecting with the spiritual and religious side of Diwali. As I’m away for most of the lead up to the holidays – I’ve tried to incorporate the rituals my parents would do but in my own home here in London with the hope of one day being able to teach my own family our traditions, passing these teachings on for generations to come.
This year things will be different, for the first time in a long time, Diwali will be falling on a Saturday allowing us to celebrate with loved ones on the actual day (as the day is based on the lunar calendar it’s not always the same date each year).
Diwali is shortly followed by the new year; this year will be the year 2077 according to the Hindu calendar. As lockdown 2.0 enters our lives again this year celebrating will be different and plans, we had have now changed. During this period, it’s important to stay optimistic, I’m hopeful this year the party won’t be cancelled… just slightly delayed.
Happy Diwali & Sal Mubarak (Happy New Year)