Discovering Diwali November 01 2013
We love Ottawa! Don’t you just love its beauty, small town feel, thriving communities, and its diversity? Ottawa boasts a rich and multicultural population, with nearly 25% of its residents hailing from other countries (including Givopoly’s Co-Founders who were born elsewhere before becoming Canadian citizens).
At Givopoly, we embrace all celebrations. We are a service that aspires to serve all cultures and every gifting occasion, but we know we aren’t there yet! Like many Canadians, we know all about the occasions we’ve traditionally celebrated but very little about many other great occasions being celebrated throughout Ottawa. As a matter of fact, it was only days ago we first heard of Diwali, not nearly enough time to stock our virtual shelves appropriately, but at least long enough to write this blog! #BabySteps.
November 3 marks the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals, Diwali! Also known as the “festival of lights”, Diwali is a festival (lunar-calendar based) that is celebrated by many families across the world. Often seen as an Indian version of Christmas, during this festival Hindus and Sikhs illuminate their homes with lights and special Indian candles. Individuals often dress in bright colourful attire and enjoy fireworks and firecrackers to celebrate this joyous festival, which celebrates religious freedom.
Much like other holidays such as Christmas and Hanukah, exchanging gifts is an important part of celebrating Diwali, and is a tradition that has been followed since ancient times. It is believed that gifts are exchanged to help enhance feelings of appreciation, love and affection; as well as to strengthen bonds between family, friends, and loved ones.
Yet like many gift giving holidays, the original traditions have grown with our changing times! While still maintaining the reasons for celebrating, the nature of gift giving during Diwali has evolved. Initially, gifts of grown produce, Indian sweets, and candle and oil lamps were given as gifts during Diwali. Nowadays, all sorts of gifts are exchanged, such as toys for children, electronics, jewelry, and more!
Regardless of the gifts you choose, it is the meaning behind the festival that truly matters. The coming together of family and friends to share in your love, values and beliefs. We wish you a joyous and happy Diwali!
Please share your cultural gifting occasion with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org