We sat down with Rosemary Bookkeeping business owner Nirmal Thakkar to chat about how she will be celebrating Diwali in her local community this year.
Today is Dhanteras, marking the beginning of the festive season ahead of Diwali for 2022. Diwali, the festival of light and the new year, takes place on Monday 24th, signalling the end of the 5-day festivities for many in communities across the UK.
Celebrating at home
Due to Diwali being the festival of light, Nirmal and many others hold religious celebrations with their families and decorate their homes and temples with hanging lights and candles.
Then, “on the actual Diwali day, we get together as a family with all my cousins and family and friends, and then we kind of cook lovely dinners. We, make a variety of foods, a sweet dessert and a full-fledged meal with delicacies included in it,” Nirmal says.
Community Diwali Celebrations
Within her local community in Stevenage, Nirmal also participates in an Indian cultural association within her area called ICA (Indian Cultural Association).
This includes a day celebration where the entire community within the Hertfordshire area get together to celebrate together. These normally consist of dinners among the 500 attendees and shows from the children where they act, dance, and show off their artwork.
“And then for the past couple of years we’ve had a DJ,” Nirmal says, “So we’ve had a Bollywood dancing night with everybody. We all dress up in our traditional clothes like either a Sari or something like salwar kameez, which is a traditional outfit as well.”
As someone who did a lot of stage shows when she lived in India, Nirmal is an experienced Bollywood dancer and has recently been enjoying sharing her love of dancing with her daughter.
After a few years in which celebrations like Diwali have been off the cards or hindered by COVID-19 for communities like Nirmal’s, she says she’s looking forward to being able to be with everybody again and celebrate together.
She tells me that her favourite part of Diwali by far is the night setting off fireworks and firecrackers with her family. (Not too late and having warned her neighbours, of course).
“I love it,” she says. “Getting ready, cooking all the different delicacies and doing the fireworks of the day. [Because] everybody takes part in it, and because it’s a festival of light when we light up a rocket or sparkler or something, it just makes you feel that your life is brightened up as well.”
Nirmal also says that it’s been interesting to watch over time how the local and ICA community has developed since she moved to the UK.
“When I came to this country in 2002, of course, I didn’t know about the [ICA], but it has been running for the last 40 years.
Every year more and more students come from India and neighbouring countries come and join us. [And their] English partners come through as well to see the dance and be a part of Diwali, learn how to kind of be a part of our community and learn the culture.”
Nirmal says that this is important to her particularly as it has helped her feel accepted where she lives and in her local area.
She is also excited to bring this openness to her new clients and expand her community to include them and is planning on treating some of them to some traditional sweets for Diwali in the years to come.
Need help with your bookkeeping?
If you would like to receive Nirmal’s help with your bookkeeping, get in touch with Rosemary Bookkeeping Garden City on 01462 419444 for bookkeeping services in the Stevenage area.
Or, nationwide, find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today to find out how we can help you take the stress out of your bookkeeping.