Deepavali or Diwali is the most vibrant Indian festival. It’s the time of year that every Indian looks forward to, spending some quality time with not only their own family but also with extended family and friends. Like all Indian festivals, Deepavali also has a mythological backstory to it.
Some celebrate it as the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya and some celebrate it for the victory of Lord Krishna over the evil-minded Kamsa. Coincidentally, both the mythological stories are about celebrating the victory of righteousness over evil. Regardless of the reason this festival came into being, today’s generation celebrate it for one big reason – spreading love!
Undoubtedly, the best place to celebrate Deepavali is at HOME! Most families make sure to come back home for the festivities. Celebrations begin with paying reverence to the Gods, having a hearty home-cooked meal, card games, visiting extended family, lots of Bollywood dancing and singing.
This is also the best time for non-resident Indians (NRI) to visit their home country, as fares are still reasonable before the Christmas peak season. Unfortunately, this year may be different as many expats won’t be able to fly to their loved ones and celebrate Diwali together due to Covid-19 restrictions and country lockdowns. Nevertheless, you could still show your support and care by sending money to your loved ones’ bank account without even having to leave the house via WU.com.
This Deepavali, whether you are in India or abroad, here are five things you must do and how we can help you make them even more special:
1. Shopping Time!
If you are going to be in any of the Indian metro cities make the best out of the pre-Diwali sales. Best buys and unique items are found in the artisan bazaars. Every city will have one for sure. No time to venture out to the bazaars? You can find special Facebook pages for buying Diwali clothes and personalized gifts.
2. Visit a Diwali Mela (festival)
A decade back Diwali Melas were best venues to find eligible partners, young men and women get introduced by their families at these occasions. Thanks to dating apps and websites, that’s not the norm anymore. However, it is a great place for young people to hang out. If you are visiting India, you can always go for a Mela to enjoy the native cuisine, watch folk dances and performances. It will be an #InstaTravel worthy location to capture a lot of colorful pictures.
3. Bollywood Bollywood Bollywood
Every Bollywood movie premiere starring the biggest stars are celebrated, no less than, with a festival. Big blockbusters are set to release for Diwali, and fans flock to the movie theaters for the premiere shows. Movie theaters are decked out with lights and festive décor. If you are lucky you can get a glimpse of the movie cast on the first show. If you follow Bollywood movies, this is a must do experience – the opening show. Tickets are booked online, so if you are not coming home this Diwali, you can surprise your family by sending a money transfer for movie tickets you know the entire family will enjoy.
4. Community Parties
It’s true that during Diwali, every street, gated community, office, apartment, sports club, school, and college will have its own celebration. So be prepared to get dozens of invites. These are typically potluck events that end in playing card games. The teen pati or the three cards game is the most popular at these parties. Stakes can range from a box of sweets to a brand new car (depending on who invited you). This is also a great excuse to shop for multiple outfits for your party destinations. Free local beers, lots of home cooked delicacies, Bollywood dancing and if you are lucky with the cards –lots of cash. Best way to make new friends and catch up with old ones!
5. Support a cause
Per mythology, Diwali is celebrated for the victory of goodness. There’s no better time to give back than during this season. Most places of worship organize feeding programs for those in need that you can volunteer with. You can also be the angel in someone’s life and sponsor a scholarship for a deserving student. Western Union Foundation has been working towards helping the many communities around the globe reach their full potential by extending opportunities they otherwise don’t have access to, such as education and workforce training.
6. Go Mobile
Today the world is a much smaller place with dime a dozen apps to connect with friends and family, so if you can’t get to Delhi for Diwali, or wherever your family calls home, join the festivities virtually. Download the Western Union® app if you are in one of the selected countries where it’s available, and simultaneously send a money transfer while you chat with family on your mobile. Send gifts online and watch their smiling faces while unboxing or unwrapping them over video chat.
It’s that time of the year when the whole country is lit up celebrating the removal of ignorance and the dawn of knowledge. The best time of the year to light up someone’s life or just bring in more light into your own life. Wherever you may be around the world, celebrate with the ones you love, remember to connect with those that are far and hold tight those that are near.