Digi-Diwali? Celebrating the festival of lights in lockdown

Thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali. But rather than mass gatherings and parties, it was a much more intimate affair. Credit: Poonam Elliott

Over the weekend, thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali. The festival of lights is typically enjoyed by large family gatherings, communal prayers, fireworks and lots of food.

This year, though, it was a more intimate affair, as lockdown forced families to think of other ways to celebrate.

  • Report by ITV News Meridian's Ravneet Nandra:

It's 10 month old George's first Diwali Credit: Poonam Elliott

It's 10 month old George's first Diwali, and Mum Poonam pulled out all the stops to make it extra special.

Due to Covid-19, the festival of lights has been celebrated a little differently. Gatherings in houses and temples are banned. So the Elliott family from Biddenden in Kent planned ahead. 

They made decorations every single day for a month!

Poonam and her husband Aron decorated their house with handmade orange pom-poms Credit: Poonam Elliott
  • Poonam Elliott- Teacher:

Oil lamps- or Divas- are scattered around the house, representing the victory of light over darkness. 

Traditional Indian sweets are homemade (and devoured!) quite quickly.

Divas are lit around the house and Indian sweets are made at home. Credit: Poonam Elliott

Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas, commemorating Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji's release from prison and return to Amritsar in 1619.

While Hindus celebrate in honour of warrior prince Ram defeating the demon Ravana. 

As temples are closed for communal worship, some Gurdwaras and Mandirs have taken to live-streaming their prayers online so worshippers can still join in.

  • Ritesh Patel- Bishop, Verdic Society Hindu Temple:

The Verdic Society Hindu Temple in Southampton live-streamed their prayers Credit: Verdic Society Hindu Temple

Diwali is truly a time for togetherness, love and new beginnings, and what more do we need it a time where light conquers all.