The way Diwali – the festival of lights – is celebrated differs from region to region in India, representing the essence of the country’s cultural diversity. Punjab is known for its cheerfulness and prosperity, so it is not surprising that they fully embrace Diwali. It is celebrated with much optimism and enthusiasm in Punjab, with preparations beginning well before the festival commences. Gifts are decided on and bought for family and friends, homes are cleaned and adorned with decorations, and delectable and rich desserts are prepared well in advance.
In Punjab, Diwali is the day when King Rama came back to Ayodhya, following his defeat of the demon-king, Ravana. He returned to make sure that light wins over darkness. When he returned to his hometown, locals greeted him with a wonderous display of firecrackers. The royal families of Mithila and Ayodhya ordered the kingdoms to be lit up with rows of lamps to welcome home the king and his queen, Sita, after 14 years of exile.
Diwali is all the more auspicious in Punjab, as it also marks the day that Guru Hargobindji was released from prison in 1619 at Gwalior Fort. To celebrate this day, the whole of the Golden Temple is lit up with traditional lamps in a variety of colours. In villages, cows are worshipped and adorned by farmers as they generate the majority of money for the farmers. Diwali is a happy time for peasants as it marks the start of winter, when the farmers can sow their winter crops and pray for a good harvest. In Punjab, the day after Diwali is known as ‘Tikka Day’, when winter crops are sown. With rice and saffron paste, sisters traditionally mark the forehead of their brothers; a gesture to help bring them safety from any harm.
In Punjab, Diwali is a time where everyone rejoices, looking forward to a prosperous and joyous future. Diwali is celebrated by Sikh, Hindu, and Jain communities across the globe from mid-October to mid-November every year. If you are in London for Diwali this year, why not embrace everything the capital has to offer? London’s famous Trafalgar Square is hosting an afternoon/evening of festivities on Sunday, October 27th this year, finishing at 7pm. For the perfect way to end the evening, head down to Amaya, one of London’s most renowned Indian restaurants, in Belgravia to continue the celebrations. The team at Amaya will ensure your Diwali is made all the more special, giving you an evening to remember with some of the most delicious, innovative Indian dishes London has to offer.