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Where to celebrate Diwali in Germany

With Diwali approaching in October, here's a look at how you can celebrate this festival of lights throughout Germany.

Where to celebrate Diwali in Germany
A Diwali celebration in Dresden in 2016 inside of the Pillnitz castle. Photo: DPA

Diwali is the name given to the five-day long festival of lights celebrated in autumn in India, and by Hindus, Sikhs, and some Buddhists around the world.

In 2019, Diwali Day, the final day of the celebration, falls on Sunday, October 27th.

It takes its name from the clay lamps or deepa (the event is sometimes called Deepawali) that many Indians light outside their home. With the days shortening in Germany, there's all the more reason to celebrate light, and for the country's Indian community in particular.

Currently there are about 100,000 Indians living in Germany, and nearly 175,000 people of Indian descent.

READ MORE: The five most common challenges Indians face in Germany

A diverse celebration

Exactly what is celebrated differs in different parts of India; for example, many northern Indians use the day to mark the return of King Rama to Ayodhya after defeating demon-king Ravana, while in southern India it marks the defeat of demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna.

The festival lasts five days, with specific rituals and activities assigned to each day. They begin with cleaning your house on the first day and decorating it, usually with clay lamps and patterns of coloured sand, on the second.

The third day is when families meet for prayer and food, and the fourth day is seen as the start of the new year, with friends and relatives visiting each other with gifts. On the fifth and final day, it's traditional for brothers to visit their married sisters and for the sisters' family to welcome them with a meal.

Food is a major part of the celebrations, which originated as a way of marking the year's last harvest before winter.

Whether you belong to Germany's growing Indian community, or just want to take part in the colourful festivities, we break down where you can celebrate the event throughout the country.

Children in India lighting candles on Diwali. Photo: DPA
Berlin

The Sri Ganeesha Hindu Temple in Neukölln is hosting celebrations on Diwali Day alongside Berlin Indiawaale, an Indian performance group.

Doors open for the event at 3 p.m., and it will run till 9 p.m., offering a traditional Puja (prayer ritual) to the Hindu community of Berlin.

As well as formalities, for a small entry fee of €5 (free for under eight years), which goes towards the construction of the temple, you can enjoy dance performances, Indian food, and an appearance by “Mr Bollywood” himself: Derrick Linco.

The Temple promises to be a home away from home as Berlin's Indian community celebrates Diwali.

Munich

On the evening before Diwali, Saturday October 26th, the German-Indian Association in Munich is hosting “the biggest Diwali celebration in South Germany”.

The doors of the Kulturhaus Milbertshofen will open at 5 p.m. for a night of Indian folk dancing, Bollywood discos, Indian food, live music and fireworks to prepare Bavaria for Diwali the following day.

Tickets for the event are €13, and children under five can enter for free. Though you better be quick, as tickets are selling out quickly online!

Local residents can also visit the Indian Grocery Store, Bollywood Store and Kohinoor to purchase their tickets.

Darmstadt-Frankfurt

On the evening of Diwali, the German-Indian Society of Darmstadt-Frankfurt are gearing up to close the night with a special celebration.

At 7pm, at the Bessunger Knabenschule, attendees can enjoy a night of prayer, classical and folk dancing, food, music and sweet treats.

The German-Indian Society are an organization which aims to support the region’s Indian community and connect the two countries, offering Indian film nights with German subtitles as well as Hindi language classes.

Entry to the Diwali celebrations is €12, €9 for members, and tickets for the event can be found online.

Diwali celebrations in Dresden in 2016 inside of the Pillnitz Castle. Photo: DPA

Bonn

Once October has been and gone, and you’re feeling the post-Diwali blues, Bonn has the answer for you.

The Bürgerverein Vilich-Müldorf is hosting an all-inclusive post-Diwali event, thanks to Bonn's Indian Association, which offers attendees food, drinks, dancing and a range of cultural programmes.

Event organizers even encourage you to wear Indian-dress, so that you don’t have to put your scree away too early!

Early bird tickets to the event are still available online.

Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony

If your Friday nights are looking as dark as the nights becoming, the Indian Family Association of Wolfsburg are ready to light up your evening on November 1st.

Professional dance groups from South Germany and Poland are invited to Wolfsburg’s grand Congresspark to join the festivities of the Association’s biggest event of the calendar.

Attendees will enjoy a showcase of various Indian dances, as well as food, fireworks and a Bollywood dance workshop.

All-inclusive tickets for the showcase are still available online. Get ‘em while you can!

Member comments

  1. Currently there are about 100,000 Indians living in Germany, and nearly 175,000 people of Indian descent.

    Can you tell the source for this data?

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EVENTS

Seven must-attend online events in Germany in April

Most cultural institutions remain closed in April, but there's plenty of activity happening online. Here's a list of online events for you to attend in Germany in April from the safety of your own home.

Seven must-attend online events in Germany in April
Semperoper in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Deutsches Theatre, Berlin, Interactive online event, until April 16th 2021

‘‘16-year-old Laura finds a message in her locker on the last day of school before the lockdown. A classmate is in danger and asks her for help. But Laura cannot solve the riddles she finds in her exercise book. Since she can no longer trust anyone at her school, she asks four outsiders for help’’. 

This is the plot of the interactive game with live performers hosted by Deutsches Theatre. Viewers get deeper and deeper insights into the dark machinations of the school via Zoom, Telegram and websites. In the style of escape rooms and detective games, a microcosm of corrupt clique leaders, illegal events and frightened schoolchildren unfolds.

To participate, you need a PC, a smartphone with the Telegram messenger app and a stable internet connection

Semperoper, Dresden, Virtual performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, starting April 5th 

Starting on Easter Monday, the Semperoper in Dresden invited its audience members to attend a virtual performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. A recording of Dresden’s latest opera can continue to be viewed free of charge. 

Volksbühne, Berlin, Digital Collection, until further notice

        Photo: DPA

Volksbühne in Berlin has various online events to check out. These include a production of Oedipus, talks on the role of instruments in the pandemic (‘Piano against Corona’) pieces by the Rosa Kollektiv in collaboration with the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and more.  

Arab Film Festival, April 21st-30th

With a selection of fresh films, the festival will present the latest film making from the Arab world. Impressive film art, gripping stories and blunt statements are the focus of this year’s official selection, paired with strong protagonists. Feature films and documentaries deal with topics such as migration, gender roles and the culture of remembrance and show a contemporary and often personal image of a turbulent region.

Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, DIGGIN’ OPERA II  April 25th 6 pm-7:30 pm

Festspielhaus Baden-Baden is showing an opera production produced entirely by high school children, including writing music, creating the stage sets and costumes. Under the guidance of the best specialists in their field, the young people have worked over several months to put together a music theatre production which they will now be presenting at the Festspielhaus online 

Virtual Marathon, Germany, April 11th

At the Virtual Marathon Germany, you can run anywhere in the world, alone or with friends! You can choose to run a distance of 21, ten or five kilometres.

You can set a training goal for yourself for April 11th and as a reward, you will receive a marathon package in the mail – including a medal and running shirt. In the virtual marathon, each participant can choose his or her own route. There are even prizes for winners, for which more than three hundred people have already registered.

Gämeldegalerie, Berlin, Online collection, until further notice

The National Museums in Berlin have published another virtual tour of one of their museum collections: Following the Bode Museum, the Gemäldegalerie can now also be explored digitally in its entirety and in both German and English. The gallery is showcasing its 58 rooms, 112 panoramas, and 1,200 works of art. 

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