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Blog: Diwali at Eddington

Anindita Biswas, Eddington resident

All Eddington residents, regardless of their religion, are invited to take part in a communal effort to light up Eddington to mark Diwali, the Indian festival of lights.

Residents can join the celebrations from the safety of their homes by placing lights in their windows or on balconies in the evening of November 14.

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, usually lasting five days. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, the festival signifies the victory of good over evil and involves worshipping the goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and marks the beginning of the Hindu calendar.

During Diwali people wear their finest clothes; illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diya’s (small clay oil lamps or candles) and rangoli (an art form in which patterns are created on the floor or the ground using materials such as coloured rice, coloured sand, quartz powder or flower petals); light fireworks and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared.

Goddess Lakshmi is very significant as she is rumoured to bring wealth and a widespread belief is that Lakshmi visits homes during Diwali and brings good luck, wealth and happiness. Small colourful foot prints are drawn on the floors in the houses to show her long awaited arrival to the family homes.

Last year we had a large Diwali celebration in the Storey’s Field Centre, which was a huge success. We had lots of Eddington residents from other cultures who participated and enjoyed the celebrations as well. It was great to see people interested in learning about Diwali and what it is all about.

In India there are many different religions and communities but Diwali is the one thing that is celebrated by everybody and everyone comes together. No matter what you do, the whole community comes together. It was very nice to see others be involved and learn about our culture and we want that to continue into this year.

One thing that I really like about Eddington is the feeling of community. When we moved here from the United States we were very happy to see there were people from many different countries and cultures. The sense of community here is great and we really like it.

The coronavirus pandemic will change things; the biggest impact will be that we won’t be able to meet as a group. Families getting together, sharing food and fireworks, is obviously something that we are not going to be able to do this year.

But despite that, everyone can get involved by lighting their windows and coming together in spirit to celebrate Diwali. This gives us something to look forward to through lockdown.

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