Diwali celebrations marked across the world

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Diwali is being celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists in India but its significance stretches across the world. All in all, it is estimated that up to 1 billion people observe the customs of Diwali. 

What does Diwali signify? 

Diwali, a five-day Festival of Lights, also overlaps with harvest and Hindu new year celebrations. The event represents fresh beginnings as well as the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.

Hindu celebrations mark the return of the deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile. Sikh celebrations place particular attention on the release of the sixth guru Haragobind Singh from prison in the 17th century although they did celebrate the festival going as far back as the 16th century. Jains and Buddhists also have their own insights for celebrating Diwali which you can read here.

How big are Diwali celebrations in the UK?

Availble figures have tallied the number of Sikhs living in the UK to between 700,000 - 800,000, the number of Jains at 35,000, and the number of Hindus at 1.03 million. It is for this reason that celebrations have been so embraced around different areas of the nation. This is especially true given how COVID impacted proceedings last year.

Belgrave road in Leicester hosted ‘thousands’ as Diwali celebrations were marked with the turning on of lights and an accompanying laser light show. In Liverpool the town hall was lit up to mark the occasion while celebrations were also seen in Glasgow. Much like Liverpool and Glasgow there were similar celebrations in the capital. A glowing lotus display was lit up at Jubilee Park and the water fountain at the Park will be lit up each evening for the remainder of the week.

What were Diwali celebrations like in India?

The biggest Diwali celebrations anywhere in the world take place in India and this has been the case again this year.

Credit: RAMESH KUMAR SINGH/AP, 2021

As with the UK, and perhaps even moreso given the impact of this years second wave, worries surrounding COVID still persist in India; however, celebrations are still being observed. In Jodhpur, Bhopal, and of course Ayodhya, Diwali is being marked in its own unique way

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