Five ways to celebrate Diwali away from home

Canada By Serra Pinto Avimlah Nov 8, 2023

Diwali is right around the corner, which means five days of lights, delicious foods, and quality time with family and friends. But, if you can’t celebrate with your family in India, we’ve got you covered. With a little planning, you can bring the Diwali celebrations to right to you.

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What is Diwali, and when is it?

Diwali, or Deepavali, translates to “rows of light” in Sanskrit. It is widely celebrated as a Hindu holiday, but some Buddhist cultures observe this holiday as well. During this five-day celebration, Indian families decorate their homes with lights and gather around fireworks and light displays to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. Although Diwali is primarily celebrated in India, it is also observed by local groups, businesses, schools, and associations all over Canada.

Diwali occurs sometime between September and November, depending on when the Hindu lunar calendar. In 2023, Diwali will start on Sunday, November 12.

How to celebrate Diwali outside of India

If you can’t be with family in India, here are five ways you can bring the Festival of Lights to you:

1. Decorate your home

Traditional Diwali decorations such as oil lamps (diyas) and rangoli (colorful floor art) can transform your living space. You can also hang a string of lights, colorful curtains, drapes, or tapestries, and light a few tea candles wherever they best fit.

2. Connect with your family through video call

Take time during the five days to arrange a video call with your family. It’s a good way to stay connected, and even show them your home decorations!

3. Prepare some traditional dishes

Aside from the brilliant light displays and gift giving, the most anticipated part of Diwali is the assortment of delicious foods. Even if you’re celebrating away from home, preparing a special Diwali feast with traditional Indian dishes can help put you in the festive mood. This feast can include sweets like laddoos and jalebis, as well as savory items like samosas and biryani. If you don’t have the time to cook, you can pick up your favourite Indian dishes from an Indian restaurant or ethnic grocery store near you.

4. Share your culture with others

Diwali is a time of togetherness, and it’s always fun to share traditions and customs with new people. If you’ve decorated your space and prepared lots of food, why not share it with others? Invite people over for a Diwali party and share your culture with someone new.

5. Attend a Diwali celebration

Diwali celebrations can be found all across Canada, even if it’s not a national holiday here. Some larger cities like Toronto and Vancouver host their own Diwali-related events and fireworks that are open to everyone. Check out the Diwali celebrations happening in your community or province to share the experience with others who cannot celebrate in India this year.

Looking to send a Diwali gift back home? Browse these five tips for sending money to India, or use Western Union Canada to make a money transfer to India today. Send money online, in the money transfer app, or find an agent location with Western Union Canada.