Spotlight on India: What does Diwali look like in 2015?

Nov. 4, 2015

Next week, more than 1 billion people around the world will be celebrating Diwali. From Hindus and Jains to Sikhs and Parsis it is one of the biggest events in the world, and one of the busiest times for sending money home.

The ‘Festival of Lights’ has a rich history. It celebrates the power of good over evil, the spiritual triumph of light over darkness, and countless victories of humankind and gods alike. Millions of families come together for Diwali to pray together, give gifts, eat sweets and celebrate the start of a new year. Diwali 2015 will be no different.

What has changed?

The majority of people who celebrate Diwali traditionally live in South Asia, particularly India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, but as people have migrated to every corner of the world, they’ve taken these traditions with them. That means that Diwali celebrations can now be found all over the world. As much as this spreads the light, it can present logistical problems when it comes to celebrating with family back in Asia, particularly when it comes to remittance. This year thousands of Indian families in London will be wondering how they can ensure that their money is safely sent home from the UK to India.

New technology to the rescue?

Thanks to the growth of new online services, families have been able to adapt to their situation and celebrate in new ways. With 500k+ (and counting) posts tagged #diwali on Instagram, and entire sites dedicated to sending Diwali gifts home, it’s never been easier to celebrate with loved ones, regardless of where they are.

And people have been getting on board in India too. International courier services have been emerging at an encouraging rate. Take Unique Air Express. It allows parents and other family members to send sweets and presents to their relatives across the globe at Diwali time. With families more and more spread out, this is the perfect solution for parents to give their children the chance to eat traditional homemade sweets, the ultimate comfort food as the cold sets in!

Where we can help!

But there is one gift in particular which we know is important. It’s accessible, useful and can’t be eaten!

Money.

A really important part of Diwali for a lot of families is the celebration of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and our 21st Century substitute for gifts of jewellery is quick money transfers. With India breaking records as the world’s number 1 remittance destination, it’s easy to see why a whole host of money transfer operators feature special deals and offers during the holiday season. Western Union have pledged to help bring electricity to Indian villages this season, RemitGuru are offering add-on bonuses to Diwali transfers… and we’ll be lighting a few Diyas as a team too!

Global connection

This is all part of something we really believe in at TransferGuru: connecting people across borders. Globalisation has hit the headlines a lot recently, and mostly for the wrong reasons, but there are the other stories. The quiet and barely-noticed struggles of people who have moved abroad and are struggling to keep in touch with their family and their culture. Diwali is a time of celebration but it’s also a great chance for people to get back in touch with a vibrancy that they may be missing.

Services like TransferGuru were made to help people out at times like Diwali. Come 2016 we want to say that long gone are the days when Non-resident Indians spend Diwali missing home.

So after you’ve compared those fees, order your laddoos, skype your aunt and light the fireworks!


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