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.

You may even find that celebrating Diwali in your local community offers a feeling of shared cultural identity in addition to its key religious meanings.

Photo of people making rangoli design

Ways to participate in Diwali activities

Many of our customers have moved abroad for better opportunities to work and earn money that help them send to family members to care from them 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 especially considered auspicious to play on Diwali itself, as it is believed to bring luck and money!  

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 in your area 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. 

Have you celebrated Diwali with your own creations that you would like to share? We’d love to see!

Send special wishes near and far

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. Here’s a homemade recipe for besan ladoo.

Find a nearby Diwali celebration to connect with your local community

Celebrate Diwali with your local community from overseas to keep the festival alive wherever you are.

United States

With such a large number of people from countries that celebrate Diwali, the United States offers community Diwali events in a number of cities and towns. This year, look for events in Atlanta (including a kids’ cultural celebration at the children’s museum), Seattle, New York City at Times Square, and Houston, just to name a handful.

Canada

Diwali is widely celebrated across Canada! A number of workshops, classes and festivities are planned across Toronto and Vancouver. Here’s a video of a huge Diwali celebration in Toronto last year!

The U.K.

With many people from countries that celebrate Diwali living in the U.K., Diwali is widely celebrated here. Festivities can be found in many cities, including but not limited to, London, Birmingham, and Manchester.

How are you celebrating Diwali this year?

Do you celebrate by sending money home to friends and family? Or do you attend events in your local community? Let us know how you celebrate Diwali from afar in the comments below.