By Rakashi Chand
BOSTON—The Covid-19 pandemic has overshadowed all celebrations, festivals and holidays, and now it will impact how we celebrate Diwali. But it will not prohibit us from the most important part of the Diwali festival.
Diwali is less than a month away so here are some suggestions on how to celebrate Diwali 2020 Quarantine Style for you and your loved ones.
First, let us not forget that the most important part of Diwali is the family Puja, which can still be done in full festivity. Cleanse your home, decorate inside and out, hang lights to impress all your neighbors and illuminate the evening, buy new clothes and jewelry online, wear your best festive attire and enjoy a beautiful soul inspiring puja together at home.
And if that is not enough to have the Best Diwali ever, here are a few more suggestions:
Diwali Car Caravan
Decorate your car for Diwali and do a Diwali Car Caravan with friends and neighbors. From the safety of your own cars, you can all get together in a car parade and drive past friends, neighbors and relatives homes with some music and excitement. Gather a group of friends to do a Car Caravan, and check on the elderly who live in your area who might like some Diwali festivity and enjoyment and be sure to include them in your driving route. You can even have a competition to see whose car is the ‘Best Decorated’ for Diwali!
Lights, lights and more Lights!
Illuminate every part of your home, inside and out! Make it so beautiful that your children won;t even notice that they are missing out on fireworks.. if your home is a festival in itself!
Contactless Surprise Treats
Surprise friends and neighbors with gifts and treats left on their doorsteps. A tradition usually done around Halloween, knowing as Boo-ing, can be borrowed on Diwali for gifting! This is a fun and contact-less way to surprise your friends, relatives and neighbors who you would usually visit on Diwali. The less physical contact we have with those not in our home bubble the better, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving out Mithai, gifts and thoughtful treats for Diwali.
Send Diwali Cards
Make and send Diwali cards to all your friends and relatives across the globe! Perhaps it’s time to get back to the old fashioned joys of receiving a card, as it always brings a smile. Better yet, make the card yourself with your children or, if you prefer a more polished look, take this opportunity to be photographed in your festive Wear and send a lovely photo card.
Play Games Online
Well, if the Pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can do everything online. So that card game needn’t be missed! Set up an online game and play with friends as per usual.
Instead of spending money on a needless large party, use the same money this year to make a meaningful contribution to a good cause. Or, do charity with your family in a socially distanced manner. Covid19 has left so many people struggling with homeslesness, joblessness and an uncertain future, creating an even greater need to help our communities.
Arts and Crafts
I used to enjoy making homemade Dias with my children when they were younger, but there are so many arts and crafts you can do with children around Diwali. Everything from Rangoli designs, to drawing their own images of Diwali, to decorating clay dias, to making Diwali decorations for the home by hand. So enjoy and be sure to display your children’s handwork with pride!
Reach out to your local legislatures, magistrates or town officials and encourage them to issue a Diwali Greeting to the community. Advocate for cultural awareness and visibility. This is an optimal time to maximize your towns/cities awareness and ensure that the biggest Indian holiday of the year is recognized.
Rainbow Colored Flames Using Household Chemicals
Enjoy an evening firepit, as living in Massachusetts we cannot do fireworks, but you can certainly enjoy a nice fire to enjoy in a socially distant manner. (You can even add colors to the flame! https://www.thoughtco.com/make-a-rainbow-of-colored-flames-606193
Once the chemicals are set up, there’s no hurry to light the fire. When you are ready, add fuel and then light it at one end. Hand sanitizer burns with the coolest temperature flame, but the high water content means the rainbow fire doesn’t last long. Feel free to experiment
Perhaps the best Diwali ever!
Dress up, decorate, and lift your spirits for the best Diwali you have ever had at home! (And we are all professionals at being ‘At Home’ now!)Try making sweets you have never made before, choreograph your own family dance to share with loved ones across the globe, light up the night sky with tons of lights and colors and give thanks to the Gods for giving us the strength to carry on and overcome even this time of darkness. It is truly a Diwali to reflect upon, as light will always prevail over darkness.
(Rakashi Chand is former president of the United India Association of New England and currently serves on the organization’s advisory board.)