Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Durham University has moved its popular annual celebration online, to the Oriental Museum’s “Explore From Home” web page.

There are family-friendly craft activities, a re-telling of the epic story of Prince Rama and Princess Sita from the Ramayana and video recipes for a delicious vegetarian Indian Thali feast. These are available now at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/attractions/explorefromhome/festivals/faith/diwali/

Additionally, a Lakshmi Puja ceremony, traditional prayers to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, will be streamed live, which took place on the Oriental Museum’s Facebook page is available on the university website from Monday, November 16.

Members of the local Indian community are working alongside museum staff to create the online celebrations.

The Northern Echo:

Deepthi Penukonda, one of the local residents involved, said: “It has been a bit of a challenge to make the videos, but a lot of fun too. All the recipes are easy and delicious. I hope people have a go at making their own dishes at home.”

Charlotte Spink, a learning assistant at the Oriental Museum, said: “This year more than ever we are so grateful to our community and students volunteers who have worked wonders creating so much great online content for people to enjoy at home. I would encourage everyone to try the recipes and activities post their creations on social media.”

The Northern Echo:

Participants are invited to post their own Diwali creations online using #diwali2020 on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

For more information, visist www.durham.ac.uk/oriental.museum 
Durham University has a multicultural and diverse staff and student body and students have access to many cultural and faith activities, including a Hindu Society. 

The university is also currently developing its Chaplaincy and Faith Support service. It recently appointed a Buddhist Chaplain and is exploring the possibility of appointing a Hindu Chaplain.

Hindu students have access to nearby places of worship including the Hindu Temple in Newcastle and the Hindu Cultural Society in Middlesbrough.