11 November 2014

5 Things every Hindu MUST DO during Diwali!?


Diwali Leicester


This year, once again more than 5,000 people took to the streets of Leicester, for the festivities of Diwali. The city's 'Golden Mile', has served as the backdrop for these festivities for a numerous number of years. With each passing year, the festival is celebrated with more pomp, enthusiasm and energy, lending this Hindu festival a whole new meaning. The street adorned with traditional lamps and luminous lights, symbolising the victory of good over evil.

Being a  first generation British born Hindu teenager, in my family, the first hand experience I've ever had of Diwali celebrations have been none other than the ones conducted locally in Leicester. Whilst many say that the celebrations are held with much more enthusiasm and pomp in its country of origin; India, I prefer to stick to my own views of the best celebrations being held in Leicester.

Having researched into the way, Diwali is celebrated in India, I can safely say that it's not much different from the way I celebrate it each year; infused with hours on end at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir on Gipsy Lane, Leicester.

However this blog post is not merely about the story and meanings behind Diwali, as it's common information furthermore all it takes to find such information is one Google search and the results are at your fingertips ( And I wouldn't bore you with that... Trust me!).

So after the 5 days of Diwali ended I embarked on a self fulfilling mission to investigate how people actually spent their days of Diwali, and more importantly what they were busy doing. Diwali is celebrated by Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Hindus wherein it symbolises different historical, Religious and traditional events. For this specific article we will focus on how Hindus celebrate Diwali.

What's more interesting is the sheer fact that most Hindu's in the UK spend more of their Diwali doing menial tasks than actually spending their time with family, in devotion or just simply having fun!

So, what are the top 5 things every Hindu DOES during Diwali?


1) Fireworks
Fireworks
This one shouldn't really take you by surprise. Whilst contributing to greenhouse gasses, many Hindu's see Diwali incomplete without fireworks. Interestingly however the tradition of fireworks does not go back deep into the history of Hinduism, as gunpowder being a Chinese invention. Whilst some bloggers around the net theorise fireworks to have been used by Ram in ancient India, due to the reasons stated previously, such a theory easily burns away with a bang!



Working Day
2) Working Day
Despite being a day of festivity, most years diwali falls on working days, meaning that most celebrating 'Brits' spend the majority of their day working away at School, College, University or at their Job place. Which can make the day seem hardly any special or different to other days in the year.


 3) Sweets
SweetsWhether it's chocolates, confectionery or traditional sweets, everyone loves sugar in their diet, Diwali being no exception. The traditional confectioner's on Leicester's 'Golden Mile' make the biggest profits as the average customer spends between £10-£25. It has been a traditional practice to prepare sweets and savouries in ones own home dating back many centuries. Despite Sweet and savoury food products being readily available in shops, as per     tradition many hindu's still prefer to make these at home.


BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Leicester
4) A visit to the Temple
Diwali is considered to be the most holy period of the year, by majority of Hindu's. Diwali is consecutively followed by the Hindu New Year. It is widely believed that The universe was created on this day by Brahma (The creator). In Hindu Temples worldwide, the deities enshrined within the Temples are offered a display of  Vegetarian Food items as a token of appreciation and blessings for the coming year. Making it common practise for most Hindu's to visit their local Temple.


Family Time5) Family Time
Like Christmas, Diwali is seen as a time to be spent with ones family. Often taking meals together and visiting the temples together are the most convenient way people achieve this. Furthermore, after visiting the Temples many people visit the homes of their close friends and family, greeting them with the best wishes for the coming year.



On a concluding note, whilst the above the mentioned ways of celebrating Diwali seem to be the most fitting to the subjective research carried out. there are many other ways Hindus celebrate Diwali each year... How do you celebrate Diwali?







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