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Celebrate India’s Festival of Lights at home with these virtual events

Diwali, the ‘Festival of Lights’, is among the most celebrated dates in the Hindu calendar. But, like many other religious events, the festival has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fortunately, our lockdown saviour the live-stream is here to help once more. From a Bollywood dance workshop and deep yoga to a virtual firework display, Uswitch have rounded up the best virtual Diwali events and activities you can stream from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

This year Diwali starts on Saturday, November 14, but the festivities start the day, or in some cases week before.

  1. Leicester Diwali Day 

Leicester is recognised for its vibrant Diwali celebrations, which are considered the best in the UK, and some of the greatest outside of India. Every other year, crowds gather on Belgrave Road for a magnificent firework display and traditional Hindu entertainment. But this year, the city council is inviting people to take part in a shared Diwali Day celebration from the safety of their homes.

An hour-long program will be streamed on Saturday, November 14, featuring music, storytelling, dancing and footage from previous years’ firework displays. There’s also an opportunity for the public to get involved by sending in a 30-45 second video explaining what the festival means to them, how they’ll be celebrating this year, and wishing a ‘Happy Diwali’ from Leicester.

Event date: November 14.  

Check out Leicester’s Diwali celebrations here

Pic by @parthoroy
  • Little India Singapore, Deepavali (Diwali) Celebrations

As one of the major cultural festivals in Singapore, Diwali is celebrated to mark the triumph of good over evil. Thousands of Hindu families in the city decorate their homes with beacons of light, exchange gifts, share food and prayers. Each year, Hindu families crowd Little India to join together at the many district’s of bazaars and capture images of the stunning street lights. 

A number of virtual workshops are being held over the coming weeks, including a Deepavali masterclass where participants can learn how to prepare Diwali delicacies along with Rangoli and Henna art workshops.

Event date: Until November 7. 

Check out Little India’s Diwali celebrations here

  • National Maritime Museum ‘Diwali Online’

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is releasing a wide variety of fantastic, educational resources to aid with Diwali festivities at home. The resources include Diwali stories about light from Peter Chand, craft activities from Meera Chauda including how to create Diwali lanterns, and an online hub where families can share their personal Diwali recipes. 

Event date: November 14.  

Check out the National Maritime Museum’s Diwali celebrations here

Pic by Erik McClean
  • New York Asia Society’s Diwali Family Day

New York’s Asia Society is celebrating Diwali in style with a variety of events suitable for all the family, with some special guests. Join The Culture Tree for a festive shadow puppet show, teaching children the meaning of true devotion, love, kindness all while learning why we celebrate diwali. 

The Parul Shah Dance Company will perform a short Kathak performance – you and your family can join in this virtual performance and demonstration from your own living room! 

Raga Kids introduces children of all ages to the classical music of South Asia, through learning about traditional instruments, singing together and exploring Raga and Tala. In this special performance you will learn about the violin, tabla, sitar, Tuvan throat singing and visual art from the wonderful teachers of Raga Kids. 

Event date: November 7.

Check out the New York Asia Society’s Diwali celebrations here 

  • Edinburgh Digital Diwali       

The Edinburgh Diwali team is ensuring that despite Scotland’s current restrictions, families will still be able to experience the magic and wonder of the festivities by hosting a virtual firework display. 

Edinburgh Digital Diwali will be hosting a two2-hour stream alongside the display, featuring performances from the world-famous Srjan – an Odissi dance group from India, ceilidh by kids, and a performance by Bharatiya Ashram. 

Event date: November 15.  

Check out the Edinburgh Diwali Team’s Diwali celebrations here

  • The Yog Foundation ‘The Big Diwali’

The Yog Foundation is a UK based charity that aims to promote and maintain Hindu Vedic values within the community. On the 7th of November, the organisation will be hosting a two hour YouTube live stream featuring Amish Tripathi – the director of London’s Nehru Centre. 

Alongside the live stream, Diwali messages from the public will be shared and a drama performance ‘Doing Good – Lessons From The Ramayana’ shownand so much more! 

Event date: November 7.  

Check out The Yog Foundation’s Diwali celebrations here

Pic by Kunal Goswami
  • Aylesbury’s Holy Cow Community Events’ Virtual Diwali Celebrations 

Holy Cow Community Events have partnered with Aylesbury Town Council, Aylesbury, Town Partnership and Bucks Country Museum to deliver the Diwali event virtually this year. A three hour virtual event will feature traditional diwali storytelling, dancing and music. 

There are also a number of workshops being held in the lead up to the event; including a ‘Chai Tea Experience’ with Poonam Gupta, tapping, and deep yogic breathing with Bhupen Chouhan, and ‘Heartful Meditation’ delivered by Heartfulness UK. 

Event date: November 8-14.

Check out Holy Cow’s Diwali celebrations here

  • WMCA ‘Diwali on the Screen’ 

2020 marks the West Midlands Combined Authority’s 4th year of Diwali celebrations, but this year the ‘Festival of Lights’ is going digital, and global. On the November 7, from 11 am to 12 pm, those who tune in will be able to enjoy a headline act from Shin, who will be performing a Punjabi pop song, an interactive dance workshop from Bollywood Dreams Dance and a piano and violin piece from Rakesh Chauhan and Nandini Shankar. 

Check out WMCA’s Diwali celebrations here

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