For Hindus around the world, Diwali is an auspicious opportunity. In the Hindu calendar, it marks the start of the New Year.
Hindus seek the blessings of their goddess of riches, Lakshmi. Over the course of five days it is observed.
Many Pakistanis have taken to the social media every year to wish their Hindu friends well.
Thanks to the internet encouraging people to learn about other cultures, individuals and places, this has been a growing phenomenon in recent years.
Happy Diwali to the Hindu community across Pakistan and around the world. ??
— Syed Ali Raza Abidi (@abidifactor) October 18, 2017
Salutations have been coming in…
— Waqaas (@TakhreebKaar) October 18, 2017
…and all of them are pretty heartfelt.
A happy Diwali to you. I hope you have a bright future. Keep flourishing. Love,
— Maham ? (@maham__babar) October 18, 2017
Currently, on this beautiful day this heartwarming video was also shared:
— Imran Solanki (@imransolanki313) October 19, 2017
Since many of us don’t know anything about Diwali or how the occasion is celebrated by Hindus in Pakistan, we reached out to a few community members to speak about the same thing. It happens that the first person we have reached out to is an Indian. Knowing how Indians celebrate the day and how different or similar it is in Pakistan will make sense.
Kasvi Daver explores what celebrating Diwali is like in India:
“People light up their houses and shops during this festival. It takes a total of five days to return to India, with the Festival of Lights occurring on the third day of celebrations. We start by cleaning our homes and decorating them. We wear new clothes on the night of the festivities and participate in the family pooja, or prayers.
With diyas and candles all over, we decorate our homes. And we make patterns and designs of Rangoli from coloured powder and flowers. We’ve got plenty of Mithais, too and we exchange gifts. This is accompanied at night by firecrackers.’
Kasvi also reveals some precious moments of Diwali back home when she celebrated:
Our grandma will make sure we saved the tastiest candy for us. It would fill the whole house with the smell of it. Our siblings would purchase the crackers we wanted or give us the best outfits we’ve ever seen.
Kasvi also speaks about how different it is to be away from home, now that she is overseas:
“With my mom constantly nagging me, I never even thought what it would be like not to clean every corner of the house. Or not getting the chance to struggle to make a Rangoli for the umpteenth time, but always going at it and then stopping it from spoiling all the little ones.
I could never imagine being away from home and not celebrating Diwali for the last 3 years, a Diwali where I don’t put up colourful lights and vibrant diyas and then click every year on a photo of my beautiful home.
Next in Pakistan, we spoke to Hindus to find out what Diwali celebrations here are like. Karishma Kanhya Lal spoke of the festivities, but also provided the uninformed with a brief history lesson:
“It’s not just one day then. It’s an experience for five days. In the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated to mark the New Year. It also reveals that good often wins over evil and that the houses and the town are illuminated to reflect that. Before the festival itself the initial preparations start way. The whole house is being swept.
Normally the main day itself begins. In some households, a little early, and usually with prayers. And then you spend the whole day greeting people and sharing good wishes and treats. Since it is the festival of colours and lights, our homes are illuminated with diyas around sunset. Some people often illuminate houses with fairy lights.
Wearing fresh clothing. Lots of fried dishes. Gifts are distributed and a Rangoli is also produced in some homes.
Karishma had to say the following when asked if she and her family will completely celebrate the occasion of Diwali in Pakistan:
“We fully celebrate it here, I suppose. Of course, in countries with a Hindu majority, such as India, it is celebrated more widely, but we do not face any problems or restrictions here. At least, none that has been faced by my family yet. Muslims are pretty tolerant in our neighbourhood and often they even celebrate with us. It certainly brings individuals together.
While discussing the way she and her family celebrate the occasion, Karishma Kewalramani kept it short and simple:
Since no event is going to happen here, people will generally go to the Mandir. We get packed, however and visit individuals. And I’m going to make a Rangoli.’
Anjali Chawla talks a little about the Diwali festival in Pakistan and explains how the occasion is celebrated by her family:
First of all, we clean the whole house because we believe it is necessary for our house to be sufficiently clean and spiritual. This is also because on the day of Diwali, we assume that Laxmi Mata arrives at the door. The whole family gets ready during the evening and performs the religious prayers of Diwali-the Laxmi Pooja or Diwali Pooja.
After that, both our friends and family, including both Hindus and Muslims, will visit the temples and distribute sweets. And even those from other faiths. The whole family unites and has dinner together after that to celebrate this spiritual day. Not only does this build a sense of oneness within the entire family, but it also offers all members an opportunity to spend time together.
It is fascinating to note how the basic structure of Diwali celebrations in Pakistan is very similar to how every other religious festival is celebrated.
In addition, the thought of Hindus and Muslims celebrating in peace together sounds positively fantastic as well. We sincerely wish a Happy Diwali to our Hindu mates. For all of you, may this year be happy and prosperous.
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