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Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrates new beginnings

Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrates new beginnings

Across the world, Diwali is commencing. The beautiful, heart-warming festival is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs and marks the start of the Hindu new year, symbolizing the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. The Indian festival of lights usually lasts around five days, with each house, shop and public place illuminated with intricate oil lamps called ‘diyas’ and colourful fireworks emblazon the sky. The lights and lamps are said to guide the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi to people’s homes, bringing prosperity in the year to come.

Food is an essential part of the festivities too. From crispy samosas — think soft meat and vegetables encased in a pastry shell — to sweet mithai, a combination of flour, sugar, nuts and milk, flavoured with cardamom, rose water or saffron. Gulab Jamun, a fried milk ball soaked in rose syrup or honey and jalebi, a fried dough dipped in sugar syrup are definitely the stars of the show.

The festival is also steeped in history. Both Sikhs and Hindus mark different historical events and histories. Hindus celebrate the return of Rama and Sita, two deities who come back to the city  of Ayodhya after a fourteen year exile. While Sikhs particularly celebrate the release of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh from prison in 1619.

Diwali may look a little different this year but the spirit of Diwali is undoubtedly powerful, bringing a sense of unity and hope to those celebrating and a well needed new beginning.

May every aspect of your life be as luminous and wonderful as the lights on the lamps of Diwali.

NBGA wishes all those celebrating a happy and safe Diwali!

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