With Diwali approaching on Saturday, November 14, we wanted to learn more about the Festival of Lights and how the pandemic has affected its celebrations.
Diwali, also known as, Deepawali and Bandi Chor Divas, is one of India’s biggest festivals. Deepawali means rows of lighted lamps. Observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, Diwali is celebrated in many ways, by celebrating the triumph of good over evil and symbolizing the deep relationship between humans and animals.
We had the opportunity to chat with our colleagues, Madhav and Geeta, who provided some valuable insight into the celebration of Diwali and helped us to continue to broaden the conversation and deepen our agency’s commitment towards achieving equitable service for the children, youth, and families that we serve.
Geeta shared some reflections on her experience with Diwali while growing up in Guyana, “We celebrated the day before and the day of by lighting diyas [oil lamps], fireworks, praying and spending time gathering with friends and family. There was always lots of food!”
In some parts of India, Deepawali is celebrated for five consecutive days. Madhav shared some reflections on his experience with Deepawali, “Also known as Tihar, the Hindu Festival of Lights is celebrated for five days. Each day is dedicated to worshipping the crow, the dog, the cow, the oxen, and the brother respectively.”
It is important that we remain mindful of the challenges brought to us by the pandemic. Celebrations will be limited to social bubbles, and this can be hard on families especially at this time of year. If you are working with a family who celebrates Diwali, they may offer you food or ask that you remove your shoes before entering their home.
Thank you to Madhav and Geeta for sharing your experience and knowledge of Diwali!
तिहार (दिपावली) – Tihar in Devanagari script
To learn more about our equity journey, read our 2019-2020 Annual Community Report.