Community rallies to celebrate Diwali online

A LOCKDOWN Diwali with restrictions on social gatherings may have prevented Indian families and friends from meeting each other in person, but families have been enjoying the festival by decorating their homes, preparing festive food and getting together online with families and friends to celebrate the festival of light.

Mums of current and former Goldsworth Primary pupils in the video holding Diwali props

On Diwali eve, the Surrey Hindu Cultural Association (SHCA) held an hour-long Zoom celebration which started with prayers to Goddess Lakshmi, who brings prosperity, followed by the story of Diwali narrated and acted out by local children. The recording is available to watch on SHCA’s Facebook page.

Sumana Ghosh in traditional Indian attire showcasing her Rangoli decoration

Families and friends also turned to virtual get-togethers to pray and play games like poker, as many Indian households consider it auspicious to play cards on Diwali night.

“Every year we organise a Diwali get-together at our home with our friends as they are our family here. But this time, we met online and played Bollywood quiz and poker,” said Shikha Bansal.

Diwali was on Saturday 14 November, but for children the celebrations have been ongoing as schools highlight its significance through RE lessons. Current and former parents of Goldsworth Primary School pupils put together a 20-minute programme including the school’s previous years’ Diwali celebrations, a video compilation of children showing skills related to Diwali, all coordinated and compiled remotely from their homes by parents. The video is available to watch on the school’s YouTube channel and the PTA’s Facebook page.

Saanvi Alve holding her handmade lantern

“Diwali has been celebrated at a grand scale over the last two years and Friends of Goldsworth (the school’s PTA) are ensuring that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions do not dampen the spirits this year,” said Priyanka Chaturvedi, a former parent at the school who coordinated this year’s virtual celebrations.

“So Diwali in Goldsworth has gone virtual but the spirits are still high and both ex-Goldsworth and present Goldsworth parents have put together a video depicting the vibrant festivals of Diwali spreading the message that good always triumphs over evil, light wins over darkness and knowledge obliterates ignorance.”

Halstead Preparatory School have been looking at festivals of light in RE this week, and pupils have been asked to wear home clothes in shades of red, yellow and orange.

“We are sharing the stories of Diwali, Hanukkah and looking at alternatives to Halloween with a light party. We have a fantastic diverse community and will be having fun sharing games stories and craft activities. Some of our girls, past and present, have shared videos of the celebrations they are having at home. We love to celebrate and value every girl at Halstead,” said Mrs Foster, head of RE.

For more pictures of the celebrations, get the 19 November edition of the News & Mail

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