Diwali in Dublin


Examples of Rangoli patterns and diyas used as decorations during Diwali

Diwali, translated in English as the “Festival of Lights”, is an Indian holiday celebrated across the country. It’s a prominent part of Indian culture, as its purpose is to celebrate the light, good, and knowledge that triumphs the dark, evil, and foolishness. As immigration rates in America have skyrocketed over the years, Indians in Dublin have found a way to continue their tradition, even after leaving behind their community in India.

Diwali’s traditions have variations throughout India, but overall, there are a couple that stays consistent. Houses are often decorated with diyas or lamps on both the inside and outside. Rangoli patterns are also drawn, which are floor art that brings good luck and prosperity.  A meal is prepared as well, where everyone is dressed in their finest clothes and eats together.

Example of a meal during Diwali, with foods such as jalebi, roti, paneer, and more.

I sat down with my mom to talk about what Diwali was like when she was a child living in India, and here’s what she immediately thought of: “family, friends, food, and clothes. Those are the things that defined Diwali for me as a girl. And as soon as it was over, I started counting the days for it to come again. It was a huge part of my life as a kid.”

Diwali gives the same feeling and mood as Christmas in some ways. It’s a time to think about giving and about your loved ones. My dad remembers one part of Diwali in particular, its message about giving to others. “Everyone on my block would come together to share fireworks and food. The atmosphere was so lively, and I can still remember it so clearly. We used to go around as a family and give food and gifts to our neighbors, and it was just a good time where you could share happiness with others.”

Many Indians now living in America have found it difficult to follow their traditions in a new space. As you can imagine, the stark contrast between cultures can be tough to adjust to when moving to a new area. However, Indians in Dublin have come together to continue old traditions and create new traditions. 

My grandma, who has watched over my parents as they immigrated to America, and now lives in

A community get-together for Diwali, where all the women are wearing traditional saris or lehengas.

America with us, has been watching the traditions in Dublin develop. She says, “this community is full of people from different states in India, whether it’s Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, or any other state. But they all still come together to celebrate. It’s so nice to see that they can have different languages and cultures with one tradition: Diwali”.

With the support of neighbors and friends, Indians in Dublin can still carry out traditions such as their diyas, rangoli patterns, and even get-togethers for exchanging gifts. 

And it’s not just Indians who can celebrate; it’s a way to celebrate that’s open for everyone. Anyone can participate in appreciating this important, integral part of Indian culture, so don’t be afraid to join in!


Happy Diwali, from me and everyone at the Dublin Shield!