November 28, 2020

Diwali in the age of coronavirus: Londons Trafalgar Square lights up – Daily Mail

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8949425/Diwali-age-coronavirus-Londons-Trafalgar-Square-lights-up.html

Millions of devotees from around the world have celebrated Diwali today amid the coronavirus pandemic as British Hindus use video calls and social media to commemorate the festival of lights while the country is in lockdown.

The multi-day holiday, also called Divali and Deepavali, is a Hindu holiday held annually that represents the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

Often called the festival of lights, Diwali commemorates the return of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu, to his people after being exiled for 14 days.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted four vibrant pictures showing London's Trafalgar Square illuminated with mandalas while Nelson's Column was lit up in green with the words 'Happy Diwali' projected onto the monument

London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted four vibrant pictures showing London's Trafalgar Square illuminated with mandalas while Nelson's Column was lit up in green with the words 'Happy Diwali' projected onto the monument

London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted four vibrant pictures showing London’s Trafalgar Square illuminated with mandalas while Nelson’s Column was lit up in green with the words ‘Happy Diwali’ projected onto the monument

The dazzling pictures from New Delhi in India, Nepal, Pakistan, London and Leicester show how worshippers have offered a glimpse of light in the age of coronavirus. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted four vibrant pictures showing London’s Trafalgar Square illuminated with mandalas while Nelson’s Column was lit up in green with the words ‘Happy Diwali’ projected onto the monument.

Mr Khan tweeted: ‘Usually, thousands of Londoners from all faiths come together to celebrate #Diwali in Trafalgar Square. 

Women in Lahore, Pakistan, celebrate Diwali with candles and decorate their home with beautiful ornaments for the festival

Women in Lahore, Pakistan, celebrate Diwali with candles and decorate their home with beautiful ornaments for the festival

Women in Lahore, Pakistan, celebrate Diwali with candles and decorate their home with beautiful ornaments for the festival 

The multi-day holiday, also called Divali and Deepavali, is a Hindu holiday held annually that represents the triumph of good over evil. Pictured: People watch fireworks in Chennai, India

The multi-day holiday, also called Divali and Deepavali, is a Hindu holiday held annually that represents the triumph of good over evil. Pictured: People watch fireworks in Chennai, India

The multi-day holiday, also called Divali and Deepavali, is a Hindu holiday held annually that represents the triumph of good over evil. Pictured: People watch fireworks in Chennai, India 

‘Although we can’t celebrate with one another as we usually would, Trafalgar Square shines bright tonight to mark the festival of lights. Happy Diwali, London.’ 

The Tate Britain in London transformed its facade into a ‘neon sea of glowing light’ to celebrate the festival which was created by the iconic British artist Chila Kumari Burman. 

The exterior of the art gallery was illuminated in vibrant lights including ‘remembering a brave new world’ lit up across the classical front of the building. 

A sweet puppy is decorated with a flower garland in Kathmandu, Nepal. Often called the festival of lights, Diwali commemorates the return of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu

A sweet puppy is decorated with a flower garland in Kathmandu, Nepal. Often called the festival of lights, Diwali commemorates the return of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu

A sweet puppy is decorated with a flower garland in Kathmandu, Nepal. Often called the festival of lights, Diwali commemorates the return of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu

The Tate posted a picture to Instagram, captioned: ‘@ChilaBurman has transformed Tate Britain in a neon sea of glowing light and swirling colour, open in time for #Diwali2020. 

‘The artist’s wintry work is inspired by Hindu mythology, Bollywood imagery, radical feminism, political activism and family memories.

‘A celebration of new beginnings, ‘remembering a brave new world’ lights up these dark nights and offers us hope for a brighter future. The installation is visible outside Tate Britain until 31 January 2021, perfect for a morning cycle or an evening walk.’  

Mr Khan tweeted a set of stunning pictures from London's Trafalgar Square which showed the fountains illuminated in vibrant colours

Mr Khan tweeted a set of stunning pictures from London's Trafalgar Square which showed the fountains illuminated in vibrant colours

Mr Khan tweeted a set of stunning pictures from London’s Trafalgar Square which showed the fountains illuminated in vibrant colours 

A dazzling blue mandala projected onto London's Trafalgar Square

A dazzling blue mandala projected onto London's Trafalgar Square

The neon lights lit up Trafalgar Square despite the downpour

The neon lights lit up Trafalgar Square despite the downpour

A dazzling blue mandala projected onto London’s Trafalgar Square and the neon lights lit up the city despite the downpour

Priests Pandit Nayan Vyas and Pandit Bal Krishan Gautama perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle

Priests Pandit Nayan Vyas and Pandit Bal Krishan Gautama perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle

Priests Pandit Nayan Vyas and Pandit Bal Krishan Gautama perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle

The Golden Mile in Leicester which boasts an abundance of traditional Indian jewellery shops was decked with lights and ‘Happy Diwali’ signs which illuminated the road despite the downpour. 

It comes as indoor gatherings outside of support bubbles are not permitted under UK Covid-19 restrictions, meaning revellers have used video calls, dance, and photos to celebrate this year’s festival of lights.

Himanshi Upadhyaya, a student at the University of Derby, revealed that she and her family will be celebrating over Zoom.

‘Usually, I have friends over for a Diwali feast and games but this year I am preparing a feast for myself because I live alone and we’re in a lockdown,’ she said.

The priests prepare to perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle set up with a mobile on an tripod

The priests prepare to perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle set up with a mobile on an tripod

The priests prepare to perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle set up with a mobile on an tripod 

Priest Pandit Nayan Vyas prepares to perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle

Priest Pandit Nayan Vyas prepares to perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle

Priest Pandit Nayan Vyas prepares to perform a live stream Diwali Puja service from the Hindu Temple in Newcastle

The Tate Britain in London transformed its facade into a 'neon sea of glowing light' to celebrate the festival which was created by the iconic British artist Chila Kumari Burman

The Tate Britain in London transformed its facade into a 'neon sea of glowing light' to celebrate the festival which was created by the iconic British artist Chila Kumari Burman

The Tate Britain in London transformed its facade into a ‘neon sea of glowing light’ to celebrate the festival which was created by the iconic British artist Chila Kumari Burman

The Tate posted a picture to Instagram, captioned: '@ChilaBurman has transformed Tate Britain in a neon sea of glowing light and swirling colour, open in time for #Diwali2020'

The Tate posted a picture to Instagram, captioned: '@ChilaBurman has transformed Tate Britain in a neon sea of glowing light and swirling colour, open in time for #Diwali2020'

The Tate posted a picture to Instagram, captioned: ‘@ChilaBurman has transformed Tate Britain in a neon sea of glowing light and swirling colour, open in time for #Diwali2020’

‘I will be celebrating over Zoom calls with family and friends.’

Ms Upadhyaya said she was planning to visit family in India for Diwali, but is now hoping to visit in January instead.

‘I did expect some restrictions to be in place.

‘I am usually at different locations for Diwali but this year I was expecting to visit my family in India as I haven’t visited them in around two years now.

A Hindu devotee offers prayers in a blue face mask at a temple in Colombo. The festival, which also marks the new business year, celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and light wiping away the darkness of the world

A Hindu devotee offers prayers in a blue face mask at a temple in Colombo. The festival, which also marks the new business year, celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and light wiping away the darkness of the world

A Hindu devotee offers prayers in a blue face mask at a temple in Colombo. The festival, which also marks the new business year, celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and light wiping away the darkness of the world

Diwali commemorates the return of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu, to his people after being exiled for 14 days. Pictured: A vendor waits for customers in Chennai, India

Diwali commemorates the return of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu, to his people after being exiled for 14 days. Pictured: A vendor waits for customers in Chennai, India

Diwali commemorates the return of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu, to his people after being exiled for 14 days. Pictured: A vendor waits for customers in Chennai, India 

‘The expectation of being home for Diwali made me feel all charged up against all odds during the last few months.’

Author and NHS doctor Dr Amir Khan celebrated by posting a dance video on Twitter, stating that this year’s celebration is ‘different to normal’.

‘I want to say a MASSIVE Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating today,’ he wrote on Twitter.

The Golden Mile in Leicester which boasts an abundance of traditional Indian jewellery shops was decked with lights and 'Happy Diwali' signs which illuminated the road despite the downpour

The Golden Mile in Leicester which boasts an abundance of traditional Indian jewellery shops was decked with lights and 'Happy Diwali' signs which illuminated the road despite the downpour

The Golden Mile in Leicester which boasts an abundance of traditional Indian jewellery shops was decked with lights and ‘Happy Diwali’ signs which illuminated the road despite the downpour

Indoor gatherings outside of support bubbles are not permitted under UK Covid-19 restrictions, meaning revellers have used video calls, dance, and photos to celebrate this year's festival of lights. Pictured: A sign stating how Diwali events are cancelled amid the lockdown in Leicester

Indoor gatherings outside of support bubbles are not permitted under UK Covid-19 restrictions, meaning revellers have used video calls, dance, and photos to celebrate this year's festival of lights. Pictured: A sign stating how Diwali events are cancelled amid the lockdown in Leicester

Indoor gatherings outside of support bubbles are not permitted under UK Covid-19 restrictions, meaning revellers have used video calls, dance, and photos to celebrate this year’s festival of lights. Pictured: A sign stating how Diwali events are cancelled amid the lockdown in Leicester 

‘I know it will feel different to normal but we are hopeful… Diwali is all about the victory of light over darkness, something we want to see more than anything right now.’

Mr Khan said on Twitter: ‘Whilst it is difficult to not be together with loved ones, let us draw strength from the story of Rama and Sita, which teaches us light will always triumph over darkness, and hope over despair.’

During the five days of Diwali, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs traditionally illuminate their homes and work spaces with candles and lanterns.

One of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil.

During the five days of Diwali, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs traditionally illuminate their homes and work spaces with candles and lanterns. Pictured: A boy holds a sparkler in Allahabad, India

During the five days of Diwali, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs traditionally illuminate their homes and work spaces with candles and lanterns. Pictured: A boy holds a sparkler in Allahabad, India

During the five days of Diwali, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs traditionally illuminate their homes and work spaces with candles and lanterns. Pictured: A boy holds a sparkler in Allahabad, India 

One of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil. Pictured: People play with sparklers in Prayagraj, India

One of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil. Pictured: People play with sparklers in Prayagraj, India

One of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil. Pictured: People play with sparklers in Prayagraj, India

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak lit several candles outside 11 Downing Street on Friday ahead of Diwali celebrations. 

It comes as more than a billion people in India have celebrated Diwali amid concern over a resurgence in coronavirus infections and rising air pollution that is enveloping the country’s north in a cloud of thick toxic smog.

Diwali, is typically celebrated by socialising and exchanging gifts with friends and family, as well as lighting oil lamps or candles to symbolise a victory of light over darkness. Fireworks are also a major part of the celebrations. 

Today, many temples across the country streamed prayer sessions online to avoid large gatherings while in New Delhi, worried residents opted for low-key celebrations and some even stayed at home and did not visit friends or relatives.

Diwali, is typically celebrated by socialising and exchanging gifts with friends and family, as well as lighting oil lamps or candles to symbolise a victory of light over darkness. Fireworks are also a major part of the celebrations. Pictured: People in Lahore, Pakistan

Diwali, is typically celebrated by socialising and exchanging gifts with friends and family, as well as lighting oil lamps or candles to symbolise a victory of light over darkness. Fireworks are also a major part of the celebrations. Pictured: People in Lahore, Pakistan

Diwali, is typically celebrated by socialising and exchanging gifts with friends and family, as well as lighting oil lamps or candles to symbolise a victory of light over darkness. Fireworks are also a major part of the celebrations. Pictured: People in Lahore, Pakistan

‘It’s not the usual Diwali,’ said Vishwas Malik, 47, a professor in New Delhi.

‘The exchange of gifts is less and we have not interacted with people. We have not visited people’s homes because of the fear of the coronavirus.’

In a bid to encourage people to stay home, New Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, and some of his ministers held a prayer ceremony at a grand temple and the prayers were broadcast on television and social media.

Mr Kejriwal said last week that the pandemic was spreading fast in the capital due to the rising air pollution.

He appealed to people to not burst firecrackers on Diwali, in the hopes of mitigating the harmful effect of toxic air on those who are more vulnerable during the pandemic. Firecrackers often cause spikes in New Delhi’s notoriously bad pollution.

Many temples across the country streamed prayer sessions online to avoid large gatherings while in New Delhi, worried residents opted for low-key celebrations and some even stayed at home and did not visit friends or relatives. Pictured: Vendors in Amritsar, India

Many temples across the country streamed prayer sessions online to avoid large gatherings while in New Delhi, worried residents opted for low-key celebrations and some even stayed at home and did not visit friends or relatives. Pictured: Vendors in Amritsar, India

Many temples across the country streamed prayer sessions online to avoid large gatherings while in New Delhi, worried residents opted for low-key celebrations and some even stayed at home and did not visit friends or relatives. Pictured: Vendors in Amritsar, India 

A customer in East Ham, London, buys supplies ahead of Diwali celebrations. The holiday is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists

A customer in East Ham, London, buys supplies ahead of Diwali celebrations. The holiday is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists

A customer in East Ham, London, buys supplies ahead of Diwali celebrations. The holiday is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists

Shoppers in New Delhi  (pictured) had been packing markets across the country, prompting concerns among health experts who warned that crowded celebrations could cause a virus resurgence that could batter India's healthcare system

Shoppers in New Delhi  (pictured) had been packing markets across the country, prompting concerns among health experts who warned that crowded celebrations could cause a virus resurgence that could batter India's healthcare system

Shoppers in New Delhi  (pictured) had been packing markets across the country, prompting concerns among health experts who warned that crowded celebrations could cause a virus resurgence that could batter India’s healthcare system

The link between air pollution and worsening Covid-19 cases remains theoretical at the moment. But several researchers have said that in addition to factors such as mask wearing, social distancing, population density and temperature, poor air quality should also be considered a key element in coronavirus outbreaks.

India has confirmed 8.7 million cases of the coronavirus, including 129,000 deaths. While it is second in the world for total cases behind the US, daily infections have been on the decline since the middle of September.

Shoppers in New Delhi had been packing markets across the country, prompting concerns among health experts who warned that crowded celebrations could cause a virus resurgence that could batter India’s healthcare system.

Beautiful sweets are packaged and decorated in Kolkata, India, as people celebrate the festival of lights around the world

Beautiful sweets are packaged and decorated in Kolkata, India, as people celebrate the festival of lights around the world

Beautiful sweets are packaged and decorated in Kolkata, India, as people celebrate the festival of lights around the world 

But ahead of Diwali, messages encouraging people to stay home during the festival spread around the city via WhatsApp.

‘This Diwali is more about survival. It is about being grateful that we are still able to breathe and be alive for this day. Please stay home,’ read one such message.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi continued with his custom of celebrating Diwali with Indian soldiers, flying to a military post in western Rajasthan state where he distributed sweets among troops and took a tank ride.

‘You may be on snow-capped mountains or in deserts, but my Diwali is complete only when I celebrate with you,’ Mr Modi said in his address to the troops.