Celebrate Diwali - the festival of lights

Madhavi Latha Apparala is celebrating Diwali
Saturday 22 October saw the start of the five-day festival of Diwali, which is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists around the world. Read on for some ideas for how you can mark the occasion through cycling

When is Diwali?

As we enter the colder, darker months ahead we all need a little light in our lives. Happily, Diwali takes place this week. This annual feast traditionally commemorates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and hope over despair; and often occurs in October or November, with the date moving each year around the new moon on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartika. The main festival day falls today on Monday 24 October, but each of the five days has its own significance.

How is it celebrated?

The word 'Diwali' comes from the Sanskrit 'Deepavali', which means 'row of lights'. Families will light small oil lamps called 'diyas' and visit friends and relations for feasts and fireworks, with many towns and cities organising public celebrations.

I’m Hindu, so nature is a goddess for us. That’s how I feel connected to everything.

Madhavi Latha Apparala, volunteer ride leader

Nature is very important in Hindu culture, as Telugu Association of Scotland volunteer ride leader Madhavi Latha Apparala explains: "Cycling allows me to reconnect with nature. I’m Hindu, so nature is a goddess for us. That’s how I feel connected to everything; I don’t feel lonely."

Get involved 

There's no reason why Diwali can't be marked by your own bike ride too, whether that's solo or with friends or family. Don't forget to add some bling to your bike first though with some battery-operated fairy lights to light up the night sky and bring a bit of joy to the world. 

Traditionally, sweets are eaten for Diwali and elaborate and colourful geometric designs called 'rangoli' are created to feel strength and generosity, as well as bring good luck. These can be made with wet or dry materials such as coloured powders, paint, flour or even flower petals.

Why not create your own rangoli with a bit of mindful colouring in using our stencils (attached) created from an old disk brake? (But be careful if you use your own though as the edges can be sharp!)

Go for a ride

You can also mark the fourth and fifth days of Diwali with a bike ride - Tuesday's theme is Padwa, which focuses on the love between a husband and wife with gifts and meals, while Wednesday 26 October is Bhaj Dhuj, the last day of the festival, and is dedicated to the lifelong bond between brothers and sisters. Don't forget some sweets and other treats to make it really special!

Do good

Finally, if you want to perform a little good for the world of cycling, why not share our top tips for cycling in winter and inspire those budding cyclists out there to keep going over the dark months ahead?

But, however you celebrate, we'd like to wish everyone a very Happy Diwali! 

Celebrate the festival of lights with a free bike light

Claim a free Blackburn 2'fer bike light when you become a Cycling UK member this autumn. The 2'fer is one really smart compact USB light that acts as either a front or a rear light to keep you riding bright through the darker months ahead.

Subject to availability and while stocks last.

Join Cycling UK today