Diwali 2020: How celebrations will change this year as Covid keeps families apart

Diwali celebrations will have a different feel this year as celebrations move online in a bid to beat coronavirus.

With England laying claim to some of the world’s biggest Diwali events, many councils are providing celebrations online on Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson endorsed the virtual festival which he said is “bringing the spirit of Diwali into people’s homes while helping to keep people safe.”

And Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned celebrating Diwali will be difficult this year as England remains in a nationwide lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Diwali marks the start of the Hindu New Year

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “For us as Hindus, Diwali is special, and it’s going to be difficult this year.

“But we’ve got Zoom, we’ve got the phone, and most importantly, we’ve got each other.”

Leicester City Council, which claims to have the “biggest celebrations of the festival of light outside of India,” will include footage of last year’s fireworks as well as music, dance and the traditional lighting of the diva lamp.

Deputy city mayor Councillor Piara Singh Clair said: “We all need to find different ways to celebrate important festivals like Diwali and Christmas this year.

Rishi Sunak acknowledged it will be difficult celebrating Diwali during lockdown

“Although we can’t meet up with our extended families in person this year, our virtual Diwali celebration will help bring people together for an experience they can share with a family member or a friend, wherever they are in the world.”

Meanwhile the West Midlands Combined Authority and Indian Consulate will be hosting an online event called Diwali on the Screen.

Mr Sunak is encouraging families to meet up virtually this weekend and reassured people “we’re going to get through this.”

Similar outdoor celebrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff have been cancelled this year due to restrictions in Scotland and Wales.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh community for their compassion during the pandemic in his Diwali message to the nation

Though digital events including performances and other cultural activities will also be held in their place.

One of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil.

To mark the five-day event, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs traditionally illuminate their homes and work spaces with candles and lanterns.

London’s main Diwali celebration, which takes place in Trafalgar Square annually, has been cancelled with its celebration instead taking place online.

Leicester City Council claims to have the “biggest celebrations of the festival of light outside of India”

Instead, the approximately 30,000 people who attend each year will be invited to a free online event.

Sister Jayanti, the chair of Diwali in London Committee 2020, said: “This Diwali is going to be very different from all the others we have ever experienced. Yet I’m sure the spirit of Diwali will definitely be well and strong.

“Diwali is the celebration of light and so, coming at a time of darkness, when there seem to be many sad stories of bereavement, sickness and financial hardship all caused by a virus, we need to ensure that our inner light stays ignited.”

This year, Diwali began on Thursday and the main day of celebrations will take place on Saturday.

John Lewis Christmas advert 2020

Mr Sunak has defended the Government’s decision to lift lockdown before Christmas, despite criticisms that it has overlooked other faith celebrations such as Diwali.

Describing it a “national time”, the Chancellor said “of course this is a secular country” but that Christmas is when most people have time off work and “everyone hangs out.”

He also highlighted that restrictions have been in place at different times throughout the year, in different parts of the UK, affecting people in different ways.


Source: All Football

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