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Let There Be Light – And Sweets!

As we move towards the Autumn celebrations of Guy Fawkes and Halloween, the Hindu community is preparing for the festival of Diwali, which begins on 24 October.

This is a festival of light, marked with candles, lanterns, fireworks and bright colours to celebrate the Goddess of Prosperity, Lakshmi (Laxmi).

Sweets also play an important role with many street vendors on the Indian sub-continent selling tasty sweetmeats, largely based  around pieces of dried fruits or nuts. Here, in the UK, Hindu families will be busy making these treats or queuing up to buy them from the specialist stores in their communities.

Diwali actually lasts for five days with each marked in its own special way.

Day one: People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.

Day two: Homes are decorated with clay lamps and patterns on the floor, called rangoli, made from coloured powders or sand.

Day three: This is main celebration when families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.

Day four: Officially the first day of the Hindu new year, when friends and relatives visit to exchange gifts and best wishes for the season.

Day five: Brothers traditionally visit their married sisters (these days it is generally families in general) who welcome them with a lavish meal.

The Chiswick Nursing Centre Activities team will be celebrating Diwali with lights, sweets, and lots of fun activities.

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