Diwali, the five-day old festival of lights, will this year be celebrated on Saturday, November 14th. The ancient festival is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world and commemorates the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.

Usually, the joyous holiday is celebrated with a visit to the temple for prayers, large firework displays and the exchanging of food and gifts with family and friends. But with lockdown restrictions in place preventing large gatherings or get togethers, Diwali in the time of Corona will look decidedly different.

So how will Kooth employees be celebrating Diwali under lockdown?

Kal – Diwali this year will be a closed celebration with my small family – enjoying fireworks, Lighting the house with candles, decorating the house, fireworks in the garden with sparklers for the kids. It will also be a day of prayers, which would have been done at the Gurdwara along with lighting a candle at the Gurdwara with hundreds of other families who will also be celebrating. We will be making lots of savory and sweet food and hopefully be calling family and friends to wish them a Happy Diwali  or Bandi Chhorh Divas (Sikh Celebration for Prisoner release day). It will also be a sad time not being with family and meeting my new great nephew born during lockdown, but also an opportunity to be grateful with what we have including our health.”

Jas – The celebration of Diwali brings great memories of joyous gatherings. Watching the community come together and lighting candles at the Gurdwara and sharing the celebration as one big family brings a great sense of belonging and gratitude. This year’s version of Diwali will be a lot quieter without being able to visit my parents and be part of the community. To make up for this I’ll ensure I have plenty of jalebi (sticky sweet soaked in sugar syrup) and samosas. There will be sparklers and fireworks with my children and lots of Facetiming with the family. Although the magic of Diwali will not be quite the same this year, one thing I do know is that myself and everyone celebrating will be lighting candles in their homes, praying for hope and prosperity for all.”

Jen – “Diwali for me is a social time to celebrate with family, friends and the local community. This year, I’ll be indulging in lots of sweet treats like jalebi and gulab jamun, and fried food as I would normally, this time however, without my extended family. There may not be any visits to the Gurdwara or firework displays with family but there will be video calls and lots of light from candles and sparklers, as well as prayers for light, prosperity and a better year ahead for us all.” 

Raj – “I’ll be celebrating Diwali this year with my sister and little nephew. In my family, the tradition is making fresh samosas and pakoras, buying indian sweets, drinking lots of chai, heading to the gurdwara, having a feast and lighting candles when it gets dark. This year, we’re going to keep it simple out of respect to my parents who have both passed away in the last 18 months. We won’t be able to go to the gurdwara and meet others from the wider community, which makes me feel very sad. So I expect the food we make and the candles we light this year will take on a whole new meaning and no doubt help us to appreciate Diwali even more in the future when we can be around more family members, friends and neighbours.”