SHARE
COPY LINK

MUSIC

How to celebrate Diwali in Germany in 2020

Diwali might look different in 2020, but it remains an important holiday for Germany's large Indian community and beyond. Here's how to still celebrate - even without leaving home.

How to celebrate Diwali in Germany in 2020
A woman swings a fire rope at a Diwali celebration in 2016 in Schloss Pillnitz in Dresden. 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 2020, Diwali Day, the final day of the celebration, falls on Saturday November 14th.

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 across 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 how to celebrate the holiday in Germany, which this year has moved exclusively online due to the lockdown light

Online celebrations throughout Germany

Every year the Amikal – Center for Educational and Cultural Exchange e.V. celebrates Diwali in Berlin. This year, however, it will be hosting an all-day online celebration on Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm.

Below is a sneak preview of the festivities, which is co-presented by Germany’s Indian Embassy. Despite being remote, it offers a diverse array of activities, from storytelling sessions for children to an Indian cooking demonstrations.

The Indian Association Dresden also usually puts on an elaborate light show and long-lasting party for Diwali. This year its moving the colour and cheerfulness online on November 28th between 4 and 6pm, complete with traditional music, dance performances, drama, as well as “a nice chat and infinite happiness,” say the organisers on their website. 

The German Indian Society of Darmstadt-Frankfurt has also migrated its celebration online on Saturday, November 21st. The festivities will include a Kathak performance, a classic Indian dance style, by Deodatt Persaud.

Other German-Indian Associations throughout the country, such as the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Düsseldorf (DIG) have decided to postpone their festivities until 2021.

“Especially now in the difficult times of lockdown and Corona we miss our friends and families so much,” they wrote.

“Let's stay safe and celebrate the festival despite everything and share our happiness in silence this year. We need to help each other defeat this world pandemic.”

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CULTURE

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

The holiday of Diwali kicks off on Monday. Here's where you can celebrate all around Germany.

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

With over 100,000 Indians in Germany, and over 175,000 people of Indian descent, it’s little wonder that Diwali – the famous five day Hindi festival of lights starting this year on Monday October 24th – is being celebrated all around the Bundesrepublik

READ ALSO: Indians in Germany: Who are they and where do they live?

Even the House of Parliament in Frankfurt is honouring the holiday for the first time with a special reception on October 30th.

Diwali 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 — especially over lively music, traditional dance and authentically spicy Indian cuisine.

We have rounded up some of the top events to celebrate around Germany, both the week of Diwali and afterwards, stretching into mid-November. If you have an additional event to suggest, email us at [email protected]

October 24th in Heidelberg

Happen to be in Heidelberg? Then it’s not too late to head to the Sweet Home Project, which will be cooking up a storm starting at 6:30pm. The menu includes an assortment of Indian sweets and savoury dishes. The collective only asks that participants bring along a candle (and a hearty appetite).

If you miss this event, and are still craving some (really) spicy traditional cuisine, the Firebowl Heidelberg is hosting a Diwali party on October 29th, replete with lots of food and drink and Bollywood beats the whole night. 

October 29th near Frankfurt

For those who fancy a Feier with a full-buffet, this celebration in Dreieich delivers through an all-you-can-eat dinner with traditional fare. Starting at 5pm and stretching into the early hours of the morning, the festive feast includes traditional Bollywood music by Derrick Linco. There’s also a dance party for kids, who receive free admission up to seven years old and €25 up to 14 years. Normal tickets go for €40 per person.

A previous Diwali celebration of traditional dance and music in Dresden. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

November 4th near Düsseldorf

On November 4th at 6pm, the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Düsseldorf will be hosting a family-friendly party in nearby Ratingen with classical Indian music and dance, a huge dinner and Bollywood music led by DJ SA-ONE. Tickets cost about €40 each, but children under six receive free entry. 

November 5th in Bonn 

The Indian Students Association of Bonn-Cologne will be hosting its biggest event of the year: for €10, event goers can try an array of Indian food, play classic games and tune into cultural performances. 

READ ALSO: Moving from India to Munich changed my life

November 12th in Essen 

Whether you like traditional bhajans or meditative ragas, this concert will capture many of the classic sounds of Indian music with artists such as Anubhab Tabla Ensemble, Debasish Bhattacharjee and Somnath Karmorak taking center stage. The performance starts at 5pm and costs €10. 

November 12th and 13th in Berlin

Indian food fans will get to enjoy 12 stands devoted to Indian cuisine and products, all coming from the local Indian community. The weekend-long festival will also include stand-up comedy from the Desi Vibes Comedy Group. Karaoke fans will also enjoy singing along with the Sounds of India group, followed by an after party on Saturday. All this only costs €2 at the door. 

SHOW COMMENTS