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How has Diwali Been Celebrated During the Pandemic?

How has Diwali Been Celebrated During the Pandemic?
16 November 2020

On the final day of Diwali celebrations, how has the festival of lights been celebrated in 2020?

Diwali 2020 is from November 12 to 16, with Amavasya (new moon day) falling on 14 November. Much like other religious festivals this year, communities are having to adapt to celebrate within the confines of lockdown restrictions.


Diwali In London – Trafalgar Square Online Event


November would ordinarily see the Diwali in London (DiL) committee, in partnership with the Mayor of London, bringing Diwali On Trafalgar Square (DOTS) to the capital. 

This is one of London’s biggest Diwali celebrations, and is a free festival normally attended by 35,000 people who join to enjoy dance performances, street food stalls and live music. 2020 would have seen DOTS’ 19th year, but instead the DiL committee conduced a free online Diwali to remember the memorable moments of past years. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan commented:

“Diwali is a special time of year for many Londoners of different backgrounds and an opportunity to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. So while it is disappointing that we can’t unite in Trafalgar Square as we normally would, it’s great that we can join together in an online celebration.

“As the winter nights draw in and we continue to face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Diwali’s unifying message of friendship and hope is more important than ever.”


 Royal Museums Greenwich – Crafts and Dances


To celebrate Diwali the National Maritime Museum is released a whole host of resources to add to festivities at home.

This included a performance from the Epika Dance Troupe, an International Bollywood Fusion Troupe based in London recognised for their unique fusion of Indian (Bhangra, kathak, garba, gidha and Bollywood), Japanese and Hip-hop styles. 

There were also downloadable craft activities to try at home by artist Meera Chauda, including how to make a Rangoli decoration and a Diwali lantern


Leicester's Golden Mile – Goodie Bags 


Leicester is the only city in the UK to have been living under lockdown restrictions continuously since March, and would usually host over 40,000 people on it’s Golden Mile length of road for a huge Diwali party. 

Leicester’s virtual Diwali celebration, hosted by BBC Radio Leicester’s Kamlesh Purohit featured new music, storytelling and dance filmed specially for this event, plus performances and footage of the spectacular firework displays from previous years.

Praful Bhatt, who runs meals on wheels charity Jalaram Sadvrat Leicester, told the BBC that he has been delivering Diwali goodie bags to elderly people to lift their spirits during the festival:

"This time has been pretty bad for the elderly and the vulnerable," he said.

"We've put together some bags with special Diwali foods - ghughra, chakli, mathia and Indian sweets barfi and halwa."

"This time it'll be staying home as opposed to going out to celebrate but people are still upbeat about it," he said.

Picture: Diya decorations

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 16 November 2020


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