Updated: May 3
India is known for its colorful and festive celebrations. These celebrations are often loud, full of life, intense, and sometimes chaotic. Indian holidays and festivals are not just celebrated in India alone or in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, with over 354 thousand Indian-Singaporean citizens. Indian festivals and holidays are commemorated worldwide, specifically in the USA. In the latest survey, approximately 4.4 million Indian immigrants reside in the USA.
"The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals." - Siddharth Katragadda
India’s famous writer, Siddharth Katragadda, said, “The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.” Indian festivals are always related to different religions, beliefs, faith, and other factors. Their festivals are some of the biggest celebrations in Asia. The most popular and is considered one of India’s most important celebrations is Diwali. Allow us to walk you through the coolest ways to celebrate Diwali 2021 in the US!
What is Diwali?
Diwali is considered to be the most important celebration of the year by Indians. It is a time for the celebration of conquering evil with goodness and light over darkness. Diwali is a festival of lights and is observed for five days. Each day of Diwali has its corresponding significance that Indian communities follow and observe.
"... a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness."
On the first day of Diwali, also called Dhanteras, Indian people pray to their Goddess, Lakshmi, who transforms dreams into reality, and is a Goddess of good fortune. On the same day, people cook traditional Indian desserts, go shopping, and clean their homes in preparation for the next day of Diwali. On the second day, Chhoti Diwali, they decorate their houses with lamps or Diyas in India, which symbolizes goodness; lighting the Diyas means people get rid of impurities. Indians also decorate their homes with Rangolis, an art form whose patterns are designed mostly on the floor. The third day of Diwali, or Lakshmi Puja is the most important; people honor their Goddess Lakshmi in their temples. For some, it is a day to feast with friends and family. Others would light fireworks and lanterns or lamps they had prepared on the second day. The next day, the fourth day of Diwali, Govardhan Puja, is considered the “New Year.” People also consider exchanging gifts and warm greetings like on Christmas. The last day of Diwali, or Bhai Doojm, is when siblings honor each other by holding a Tilak ceremony. Between October to November, thousands of Hindus or American-Hindus celebrate Diwali during the fall season. In New York, Diwali celebrants offer their prayers and offerings during the Hawan ceremony. And one of the biggest celebrations of Diwali that is carried out outside of India is in New York Times Square. The Diwali celebration features an amazing lineup of performances such as Bollywood concerts, singing and dance performances, fireworks, and a number of food stalls that sell Indian goods.
Celebrating Diwali 2021 in the US
As part of the tradition of celebrating Diwali, people in India light up fireworks. They use a variety of fireworks on the third day to welcome prosperity and light from the Goddess of wealth and good fortune, Lakshmi. However, India has the worst air pollution in the world. It has been reported to cause death for nearly 1.7 million Indians. Thus, pushing the Indian government to ban fireworks on the day when they are used excessively. Although Diwali is the most important holiday in Indian culture, its government seeks to administer the hazardous concern with its air pollution. Sadly, the step hasn’t been successful because many Indians refuse to rid of the idea of using fireworks during Diwali.
As the pandemic still exists this year, the Diwali festivals may be celebrated in restrictions again. Some temples might be closed. Diwali family gatherings might not also be as lavish as things used to be. Families may be more intimate in celebrating Diwali. In the US, Diwali festival celebrations in the cities of New York to San Antonio may be commemorated online.
Fun Diwali 2021 Virtual Activities
Because of the pandemic, Diwali is celebrated differently. But that doesn’t mean the true essence of the five-day-long festivities is taken away. Rituals, prayers, fireworks, and social gatherings may not be fully experienced yet because of today’s crisis. Thankfully, in the modern era, online events are possible.
Kits by Food Craft offers virtual classes to your friends, family, and work colleagues in observance of the Diwali festivities. We aim to educate and spread awareness through our workshops such as Chai Making & Henna & Culture.