Deepavali or Diwali the grand festival of lights celebrated by the Indian community throughout India and the world. It is that time of the year where family, friends and community gather to rejoice the festivities; simply translating the above lines – ‘’Lights shall illuminate your house and your life may brighten with the presence of your beloveds, prosperity, rejoice and warmth”
Diwali marks the homecoming of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman to his Kingdom Ayodhaya after 14 years of Exile, It also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year! The sheer significance behind the festival Diwali lies in the name itself; Diwali or Deepavali, translates into a row of lighted earthen lamps (Diya or Diwali or as some say Deepak) which were lit up to celebrate the path of Lord Rama and his accompanies to his Kingdom in very ancient years.
Recalling my Diwali here in the beautiful English town of Reading, this was the first Diwali in my lifespan which I celebrated away from my family- my mum, dad and grandma and yes, it is true that in this time I missed my home the most. From gathering with friends and relatives to cleaning the house for pooja and savouring traditional sweets (Mithai) this is that part of the year where my house, back in Delhi along with all the parts of the city illuminates with the joy of the festivities. But it’s rightly said if you have the right company, you won’t miss your home. Thankfully just near the university there is a local Hindu temple (Mandir) which holds all festivals like Dandiya and Garba nights with Diwali pooja and many more, and the best part is that the university students take part in the Mandir as a group. All students, be it Hindu or Sikh or Muslims tend to celebrate this beautiful festival together here in the university.
From hosting Garba nights to Diwali ball Reading didn’t really let me miss home, I would rather say it was more fun to see local Indian festivals celebrated with such rejoice in a far-off land J I went to a local temple to light Diyas and pray for the peace and prosperity for my family and everyone else.
At entering the Temple, it was such a majestic view which said more than anything through a single picture, 100’s of people had gathered to light up Diya’s along with Mithai’s and affectionate welcome to people they didn’t even know, such is the culture of Reading. I was so rejoiced to see that magnificent sight. Me and my friends were dressed traditionally and enjoyed the homely feel. We saw fireworks across multiple areas and many Indian people dressed traditionally in streets and temple.
I was so happy upon reciting the same to my parents back home who were happy to see me contended and felt cheered by the pictures I sent. After the celebrations when I came back to my accommodation it felt so good to be in the circle of my community, who not only celebrate all festivities together but also welcome people from all faiths with affection. A sudden rush of joy went in me when I got to know that the societies have planned multiple festivals like Holi, Baisakhi, Bollywood nights for all the students who are away from home to never make them feel homesick.
It is such a wonderful and amazing experience that has made my studies more focused and enjoyable. I am deeply affectionate to everyone who has made this happen, and It gives me immense gratification to call the University of Reading my home away from home.
Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous Diwali