Life

its meaning and traditional Diwali food

Known as the festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated worldwide across various religions and cultures, especially in South Asia.

Diwali is observed differently by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, creating a rich tapestry of cultural traditions and customs.

“Diwali/Deepavali has long been a cultural holiday where people get together, have parties, give gifts to each other and generally pray for a prosperous future. For some communities, the day after Diwali also marks the beginning of the new year,” says Deven Patel, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s South Asia Studies department.

The dates change each year because they are based on the Hindu lunar calendar, but it typically happens in October and November. This year, Diwali will be on Thursday, Nov. 4. The festivals and celebrations usually last for several days.

Diwali is the time of COVID.

While Diwali is typically a joyous occasion heralding new beginnings, this particular year will be different.

“There has been so much devastation with COVID. I don’t think there is any family that has been untouched by COVID,” says Inni Kaur, creative director at the Sikh Research Institute.

First detected in October 2020, the deadlier and highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus ravaged India in the past year. In April and May, the country’s health system collapsed under a severe spike in cases that caught the government unprepared and led to mass fatalities.

“When we have a death in the family, these types of celebrations are not celebrated with exuberance,” Kaur points out. “We have a year of mourning in most cultures and in most homes. So it’s going to be a subdued celebration.”

However, vaccinations have made a difference in how people might celebrate as opposed to last year, points out Mat McDermott, senior director of communications for the Hindu American Foundation.

“Now that hopefully everyone eligible for a vaccine has gotten one, COVID shouldn’t change celebrations as much as was the case in 2020. For people going to their nearest temple for puja, people will follow whatever local appropriate COVID restrictions and precautions are in place,” McDermott says.

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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