I will be lighting up the Pinkney’s Arms on Wednesday 7th November for a sold-out pop-up meal that coincides with Diwali. A bit like the Indian equivalent to Christmas, Diwali honours Rama – the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravan.
Known as the festival of lights, the Hindu celebration occurs each autumn and is one of the most popular events of the Hindu calendar and probably the most well known in Britain. Diwali symbolises a spiritual victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. To represent illumination over ignorance people celebrating Diwali light up their temples, homes, shops and office buildings with candles. The preparations, and rituals, for the festival typically last five days, with the biggest day of celebration occurring on the third day which coincides with the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, the festival generally falls between mid-October and mid-November.
In the lead-up to Diwali, homes and workplaces are cleaned, renovated, and decorated and on the third day, revellers adorn themselves in their finest clothes. Oil lamps and candles are lit, offerings are made to Lakshmi – the goddess of prosperity and wealth. Fireworks are set-off and families feast together in celebration.