Diwali, India’s festival of lights, is the country’s biggest occasion for spiritual renewal and community. For the millions of people who live abroad away from India and Southeast Asia, Diwali is still a big celebration.

Many of Indian descent, no matter where they live, find that Diwali reinforces their cultural identity in addition to its key religious meanings.

Photo of people making rangoli design

Many of our customers have moved abroad for better opportunities to work support family members. When you can’t be home for Diwali, here are some great ways to keep its spirit alive.

8 Ways to Celebrate Diwali from Afar

Sending money is a great way to commemorate this festival of community, along with remembering to send your well-wishes and blessings to those you love.

Here are a few other Diwali activities that can keep you connected to traditions back home.

Play card games

About a week before Diwali, friends, and family often play cards, such as Teen Patti or Flush.

Playing cards bring a sense of togetherness and relate back to the traditional elements of Diwali celebrations. Teen Patti is considered auspicious to play on Diwali itself, as it is believed to bring luck and money!

celebrate diwali away from home with decorations like this light

Diwali cleaning

Clean your home thoroughly before the first Diwali celebration day of Dhanteras.

Put all bank accounts and papers in order, do all laundry, and make sure your home is tidy and clean in preparation for the celebration to come.

This will provide mental clarity and peace, and put you in the right mindset to move on to other celebration activities!

Diwali shopping

On the first day of Diwali celebrations, it’s customary to buy new clothes and kitchen utensils, as well as jewelry and even larger purchases.

Look for deals online to stock up on desired items for the year ahead, as well as buying Diwali gifts for loved ones.

Decorate with a colorful rangoli

On the second day of Diwali celebrations, many people decorate their homes and doorways with colorful designs made with sand, flower petals, or other colorful materials to welcome in the deities.

These rangoli designs are traditional and often passed down through families. Celebrate with this beautiful Diwali decoration to feel closer to home.

Surround yourself with Diwali decorations

On the day of Diwali, setting out candles and lanterns or setting off your own firecracker display with friends and family can be a great way to celebrate.

Traditional Diyas best signify the festival of lights. There are many new varieties of Diyas on the market, and you can even buy and decorate them yourself with paint.

Diwali candles and lanterns can also be made at home out of simple materials, or even repurposing old materials from last year’s celebrations. 

Send special wishes

It is custom to provide loved ones and friends with Diwali wishes to show your love and care for them.

Whether you do this in person or miles away by sending money to India from afar, sending loved ones Diwali wishes is a special part of the celebration.

Celebrate with traditional sweets

Making and eating Diwali sweets are a wonderful way to celebrate and feel connected to home.

Sweet and savory snacks such as pongal (rice and nuts), burfi (milk cake), kulfi (ice cream), rasgullas (balls of dough), and jalebi (deep fried dessert) can all be prepared at home

Connect with your local community

While social distancing makes large gatherings difficult, it’s still possible to conenct with others of Indian descent who celebrate Diwali in your area. Look for virtual gatherings or create one of your own.

Virtual Diwali festivals and events abound in major metropolitan areas across the United States, Canada, and the UK, such as in New York, Houston, Vancouver BC, the Bay Area, and London, to name a few.

How are you celebrating Diwali this year?

Do you celebrate by sending money home to friends and family? Will you attend a virtual event or prepare a special dish at home?

Let us know how you celebrate Diwali from afar this year.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topics discussed herein. This publication is not a substitute for seeking advice from an applicable specialist or professional. The content in this publication does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Remitly or any of its affiliates and should not be relied upon as such. While we strive to keep our posts up to date and accurate, we cannot represent, warrant or otherwise guarantee that the content is accurate, complete or up to date.

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