Diwali is an auspicious occasion for Hindus around the world. It marks the beginning of the New Year in the Hindu calendar.
Hindus seek the blessings of Lakshmi – their goddess of wealth. It’s observed over the course of five days.
Since today happens to be Diwali, a lot of Pakistanis have taken to social media to wish their Hindu friends.
Happy Diwali to the Hindu community across Pakistan and around the world. ??
— Syed Ali Raza Abidi (@abidifactor) October 18, 2017
Greetings have been pouring in…
— … (@TakhreebKaar) October 18, 2017
…and they’re all pretty heartfelt.
A happy Diwali to you. I hope you have a bright future. Keep flourishing. Love,
— -_- (@Z4ynaholic) October 18, 2017
In fact, this heartwarming video was also shared on this beautiful occasion:
— Imran Solanki (@imransolanki313) October 19, 2017
Since a lot of us don’t know much about Diwali or how Hindus celebrate the occasion in Pakistan, we reached out to a few members of the community to discuss the very same. The first person we reached out to happens to be an Indian. It would make sense to know how Indians celebrate the occasion and how different or similar it is in Pakistan.
Kasvi Daver discusses what celebrating Diwali in India is like:
“During this festival, people light up their houses and shops. Back in India it lasts five days in total, with the festival of lights falling on the third day of celebrations. We start by cleaning and decorating our homes. On the night of the celebrations, we wear new clothes and take part in the family pooja, or prayers. We decorate our houses with diyas and candles all over. And we make Rangoli patterns and designs from colored powders and flowers. We also have lots of mithais and we exchange gifts. This is followed by firecrackers at night.”
Kasvi also shares some sweet memories from when she celebrated Diwali back home:
“Our grandmother would make sure that the tastiest sweets were saved for us. The aroma of it would fill the entire house. Our siblings would buy the crackers that we liked or gift us the best outfits ever.”
Kasvi also discusses how different it is to be away from home, now that she’s abroad:
“I never even considered what it would be like to not clean every corner of the house, with my mom constantly nagging me. Or not having the opportunity to fail for the umpteenth time at making a Rangoli, but still going at it and then keeping all the little ones from spoiling it. Being away from home and not celebrating Diwali since the past 3 years, I could never imagine a Diwali where I don’t put up colorful lights and bright diyas and then click a picture of my beautiful home every year.”
Next, we talked to Hindus in Pakistan to figure out what Diwali celebrations are like here. Karishma Kanhya Lal talked about the celebrations, but also gave a brief history lesson for the uninformed:
“So it’s not just one day. It’s a five-day event. Diwali is celebrated to mark the New Year in the Hindu calendar. It also represents that good always wins over evil and the houses and the city is lit up to represent that. The initial preparations start way before the festival itself. There is the cleaning of the whole house. The main day itself starts normally. A little early in some homes, and usually with prayers. And then the whole day is spent meeting people and exchanging well wishes and sweets. Since it’s the festival of colors and lights, around sunset, our homes are lit with diyas. Some people light up houses with fairy lights as well. New clothes are worn. Lots of dishes are cooked. Gifts are distributed and, in some homes, a Rangoli is also made.”
When asked if she and her family were able to fully celebrate the occasion in Pakistan, Karishma had the following to say:
“I think we celebrate it fully here. Of course, it’s celebrated more extensively in countries with a Hindu majority – like India – but we don’t face any problems or restrictions here. At least, none that my family has faced yet. The Muslims in our neighborhood are pretty tolerant and sometimes, they even celebrate with us. It definitely brings people closer.”
Karishma Kewalramani kept it short and simple while talking about the way she and her family celebrate the occasion:
“Since there’s no event happening here, people will usually go to the Mandir. However, we get ready and visit people. And I’ll make a Rangoli.”
Anjali Chawla talks a bit about the festival and describes how her family celebrates the occasion:
“Firstly, we clean the entire house as we believe that it is essential for our house to be clean and spiritual enough. This is also because we believe that Laxmi Mata arrives at the house on the day of Diwali. During the evening, the entire family gets ready and performs the religious prayers of Diwali – the Laxmi Pooja or Diwali Pooja. After that, we visit the temples and distribute sweets to all our friends and family – including both Hindus and Muslims. And ones from other religions, too. After that, the entire family unites and has dinner together to enjoy this spiritual day. This not only creates a feeling of oneness among the entire family but also gives an opportunity for all the members to spend time together.”
It’s interesting to note how the essential framework of Diwali celebrations is pretty similar to how any other religious festival is celebrated.
Moreover, the idea of Hindus and Muslims celebrating together in harmony sounds absolutely wonderful as well. We sincerely wish our Hindu friends a Happy Diwali. May this year be joyous and prosperous for you all.
What do you have to say about this? Share your thoughts and wishes in the comments below.
Cover image: dawn.com