Preston’s Hindu community celebrated Diwali in a different way this year.Advertisement
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they could not gather for a service and fireworks as they usually would.
The festival of light would usually be celebrated over a five day period with homes and streets decorated with lights and oil lamps, with services at the temples, with sweets and feasts exchanged between relatives and a fireworks display at night.
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Among those celebrating was BBC Lancashire presenter Neetal Parekh who marked diwali from her home in Preston watching the Broadgate temple’s live stream on YouTube.
This year, people have had to celebrate virtually, whilst being mindful of the fact many have lost loved ones.
Ambrish Limbachia, media coordinator for Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Temple) on Ribble Bank Street said: “Man is a social animal and these events provide us with the opportunity to celebrate and socialise, but this year we are unable to do this in our usual way.
“Instead, we are using technology to enjoy the festivities. It is not natural, but this year it will be part of the celebration.
“We will still offer Pooja (service) and light up Diyas (oil lamps) at home. It is a spiritual time, but we should be mindful of our civic duty and comply with the laws and guidance of our government in view of the pandemic.”
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Mr Veerabrahmareddy Padala, President of the Telugu Community Association in Preston said: “We have cancelled all the celebrations for this year Diwali and the Sankranthi festival in January next year.
“The priest will perform all the rituals by himself without any congregation. The normal rituals will be on but without any people and usual fireworks.
“Most of us have lost a family member because of the virus. These are sad times and it is not appropriate to celebrate when you have lost close family members.”
Submitted by Shakeel Ahmed, edited by Danielle Kate Wroe
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