Come October, and we know Diwali is around the corner. The season of giving, gifting. This time round, when it was just a week away, the capital’s air quality plunged to dismal levels, almost bordering on the hazardous ‘red zone’. But, that did not dampen the spirit of festivity….in fact, the festive spirit reigns supreme everywhere we look.
Diwali is getting “unboxed”, as a popular brand entices!
Brands are going all out to woo consumers. E-commerce portals are continuing with their festive offers, like there’s no tomorrow. Amazon India showcases its third sale this season – the ‘Great Indian Festival’. Flipkart is also in the middle of its ‘Big Diwali Sale’. And, Snapdeal’s ‘Unbox Diwali’ sale is in full swing.
And then there are Diwlai melas, that set the mood. Like I do every year, I visited the Blind School Mela, which is undoubtedly the best Diwali mela in Delhi, and the most popular Diwali Mela in the city. You came across almost everything for your Diwali needs – from handmade chocolates to home décor items, earthen lamps and candles. Of course, the best-selling items are the handmade candles and hand-painted diyas by the students of the Blind School. Then there are Diwali melas in residential sectors in the capital, which even spills over to Gurgaon and Noida too. Apart from lights, food, there’s entertainment and shopping galore, and evenings are lined up with live music and dance.
It’s not just in India, even Diwali lights spark festivities across the globe too! Major towns across Britain like London, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester sparked off Diwali festivities, as the Trafalgar Square transformed into an Indian square! Visibly there was a riot of colours, cuisine, music and dance, along with the Mayor lighting a lamp to launch this annual event. Incidentally, it seems Diwali in Leicester is the largest outside India. Besides setting up a Diwali Village, a highlight of the festivities is the participation of Leicester City Football Club, which won this year’s Premier League.
We understand Diwali 2016 is special in US, as a Stamp of honour was released by the US Postal Services to mark the occasion. What started as Diwali celebrations by President Barack Obama in 2009 has now gone a step further. This is the first state-sponsored recognition of the “joyous annual Hindu festival”, as they put it. Naturally, this has made the ‘festival of lights’ a wee bit brighter for desis in the US. The stamp, displays a lighted earthen diya on a cushion with red and yellow petals and a golden background; it also has “Forever” written in white. Besides, a specially designed Diwali first-day cover, digital Diwali postmarks and framed Diwali art are also being sold in all post offices.
Festivals also typically, light up the business environment. Office festivities boost employee engagement. And, from what one can track on Facebook, the celebrations are fully on. And, let me tell you, it’s not going to stop till the end of the year, as the last quarter of every calender year marks festivals. It seems that almost the entire world is in the celebratory mood.
Importantly, HR sees festivals as opportunities to engage employees in a proactive way. Don’t forget the informal environment at offices, which is a perfect way to socialise. We read about employees freely engaging in informal games, and then there is the excitement of gifts, theme-dressing, and even rangoli-making. The whole experience is enjoyable and in a way, almost therapeutic too, as it helps in ironing out any discomfort levels in teams. HR also believes this celebration helps in inter-departmental bonding. It’s a level playing field, in a way!
So, as we see, traditions are important in companies. And, close on the heels of Diwali, Halloween is also celebrated and is a traditionally accepted celebration in many companies. A little fun on Halloween, will help focus motivation and employees will appreciate having a fun break!
October is one happy festive month with Oktoberfests spreading fun; and this paves the way for spooky Halloween, which falls on October 31 every year. And, by the line-up of activities planned in the city, you could go trick-or-treating, attend a costume party, pick a pumpkin or get spooked by watching horror flicks.
So, eerie times ahead! But, here’s wishing everyone a very happy Diwali!