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Where to celebrate Diwali in Sweden

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Where to celebrate Diwali in Sweden
People light lamps in Mumbai, India, during last year's Diwali celebrations. Photo: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
13:34 CEST+02:00
With Diwali approaching in October, here's a look at how you can celebrate this festival of light in Sweden.

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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 2019, Diwali Day, the final day of the celebration, falls on Sunday, October 27th.

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 rapidly shortening in Sweden, there's all the more reason to celebrate light, and for the country's large Indian-born community in particular.

Exactly what is celebrated differs in different parts of 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, beginning with cleaning the 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.

READERS REVEAL: Where to find the best of Indian culture in Sweden

Food is a major part of the celebrations, which originated as a way of marking the year's last harvest before winter. 

So where can you celebrate the event in Sweden?


Photo: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

Stockholm

At Kista Träff conference hall north of the city centre, a women-only Diwali Market will take place on October 20th where you can pick up everything you need for the celebrations, from dresses to decorations, and even get henna tattoos. Entry is free.

One of the country's biggest Diwali celebrations takes place in Solna on October 11th. Organized by Ikon Events, the evening will begin with traditional prayers and dances and will continue with dance and music from an Indian DJ, and a vast buffet of food. Tickets are 390 kronor for adults and 150 kronor for children and are available here.

And in Skeppsholmen from October 24th-27th, a festival of 'Light in the Darkness' run by Initiatives of Change aims to celebrate both Diwali and Swedish Alla Helgons Dag with food, performances, a 'light walk' around the island and more.

South of the city at Tensta Träff, Maharashtra Mandal Stockholm is hosting a celebration on November 2nd that's only 45 kronor for its members and 50 kronor for others, plus the cost of any food you buy there. They promise "an evening filled with joy, sweets, games, laughter and of course fireworks" and you can register here.

Another major event, organized by Hindus in Sweden, is taking place on November 2nd in Huddinge, and will feature food, music, and embassy representatives from southern Asia. You'll need to contact the organizers for information, which you can do on the event page.

If it's all about the food for you, restaurant Namaste Stockholm Gärdet is hosting a Diwali Buffet with a prize draw on October 26th.

Or to celebrate at home, check out an Indian grocery store such as Kista Grossen, Himlaya Livs, and Taj Mahal Livs for food, sweets and other supplies.


Photo: AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia

Gothenburg

The Indians Association of Gothenburg will host its Diwali festivities at Brämaregårdens Kyrka from 5.30pm to 10.30pm on October 19th, featuring cultural performances, food, games, and fireworks (weather dependent). Tickets are 160 kronor for members and 170 kronor otherwise.

Alternatively, head to Lindholmen Street Food Market on October 26th from midday for food, dances, and henna tattoos.

Another event is taking place organized by Indian Women in Gothenburg on November 2nd, but has sold out for those who haven't already registered.

And to stock up on supplies for home, groceries can be found at Indian Food House, while Indiska Kryddor specializes in spices and tea.

Skåne

In Lund, Indians in Sweden is hosting a large celebration on November 2nd. Expect everything from fireworks, DJs, and a wide range of performances at this event which costs 150 kronor for members and 200 for non-members.

In Österlen, the Skillinge Teater is using Diwali as its inspiration for its contribution for the event Österlen Lyser (Österlen Illuminated). Between Friday, November 1st and Sunday, November 3rd, you can head to the theatre to see the illuminations and enjoy Indian food cooked by their guest chef. From 8pm, there will also be Indian-themed music and film screenings on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

Indopak in Malmö sells Indian groceries for those looking to celebrate at home.

Umeå

Those in the far north of Sweden have even more reason to celebrate light than the rest of us, and if you're in Umeå you can join Umeå Diwali, for which organizers ask attendees (if aged over 12) to contribute 160 kronor per person.

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