Leaving your home doesn’t mean leaving your traditions and culture behind. Important Indian festivals, including Diwali, are celebrated around the world. Many of our festivals have become popular outside the Indian community, so as well as small family celebrations you’ll also find large, vibrant ones.
Thousands gather in London
Trafalgar Square is where all of London’s most significant events are celebrated, and in 2013 it’s home to a large Diwali celebration. While many Indians with a UK student visa or UK jobs will be celebrating with friends and family, the event provides an easy place for people who are alone in London to gather. The crowd includes many British people who are not Hindu, and who are sharing the joy and celebration nonetheless.
US Senators celebrate Diwali
Recognising the important contribution that Indian immigration to America has made, US lawmakers from both the Democrat and Republican parties met to celebrate Diwali. Diwali has also been celebrated at the White House for several years. These events are not open to the public, although eminent Indians have received invitations. These events show the increasing awareness of American politicians of Indian culture and the significance of our nation, both on the global stage and in terms of US immigration.
Diwali down under
Immigration to Australia from India is common, and several Australian cities have strong Indian communities who are celebrating in various ways. Sydney, for example, hosts a Deepavali Fair with a mix of traditional events, such as Indian foods and music, as well as unique Australian twists. In Melbourne, Federation Square is home to a diverse selection of stalls, allowing crowds to sample a wide range of India’s cuisines. Both events provide a way for the Indian community to celebrate together, while also welcoming Australians from other cultural backgrounds.
A public holiday around the world
While it’s common knowledge that Diwali is a public holiday in India, it’s also a national holiday in several other countries. These include nearby Nepal and Sri Lanka; Myanmar, Mauritius and Singapore in south-east Asia, Guyana and Suriname in South America; and the scattered island nations of Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji and Mauritius. All of these countries have a strong Indian heritage, thanks to immigration over the preceding centuries and continue to celebrate Indian festivals to this day.
Alone on Diwali?
For some, seizing an opportunity means being away from family and friends on Diwali. If you migrate to Canada and live in a small town, then you may be the only person in town celebrating. However, even in this extreme case, no one needs to be alone on Diwali. The wonders of modern technology mean you can Skype call with home. Younger cousins will often be happy to act as your video guide, using a tablet or laptop computer to show you around the party and letting you talk to friends and family remotely.
Online forums allow people flying solo to join forces and all meet up to celebrate Diwali together. If you can travel, but can’t get home, then the large public celebrations are a boon. If none are available, simply taking time to explore your new country, relax, and celebrate quietly, in your own way can be a great way to celebrate this festival alone.