Being an immigrant in a country by yourself is not easy, and missing your family is just one of the worst parts. I miss being home with my family, lighting divas, going to temples and Gurudwaras, and lighting up the house. Our entire nation’s motto on Diwali is that “no corner should ever be left dark.” So when I see my apartment unlit, it fills me with a sense of loneliness and despair, that I cannot be with those that I love. My mum and dad video called me all day, showing me all parts of the house; all the different outfits everyone was wearing; the various kinds of lights and colours that lit up all the houses, and even Luna dressed up!
Homesickness at an all time high, I thought about the general plight of students in other countries on auspicious occasions like Diwali. It does make one wonder upon the importance of the festival on an International scale, and how much recognition it gets, especially in Canada. The answer is simple: not much.
Diwali needs more attention in Canada, and not just by those of South Asian origin.
In India, Diwali is a multi-day extravagant celebration with family and friends. In Canada, I have seen relatives move their prayers to the weekend because they can’t get a day off work or school. This lack of understanding takes me by surprise — religious prayers shouldn’t have to be moved around because of work. Christmas gets celebrated on whichever day it falls on during the week and is considered a statutory holiday. So if that’s the case, people should be given a day off for Diwali as well. Canada has Good Friday, St. Patricks’s Day, Labour Day, and Thanksgiving Day as statutory holidays. What is stopping them from making Diwali a statutory holiday too?
I talk about this more in an article I wrote for The Peak in 2021.