Richard Spurr 1am - 4am
British Hindus celebrate Diwali festival at home
14 November 2020, 16:43 | Updated: 14 November 2020, 16:54
Thousands of families in the UK are celebrating Diwali today as the Hindu festival gets underway.
Known as the festival of lights, Diwali is typically celebrated by socialising and exchanging gifts with friends and family, as well as lighting oil lamps or candles to symbolise a victory of light over darkness.
Fireworks are also a major part of the celebrations, but gatherings to celebrate have been banned this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Major events celebrating the festival have also been cancelled in the UK and around the world will be much different, with families told to stay at home and avoid mixing between households.
Official parades and fireworks displays have also been cancelled, but eye-catching art installations have gone up to commemorate the festival.
Outside the Tate Modern in London, artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman created a neon light display called 'Remembering A Brave New World' to celebrate Diwali.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, a practising Hindu, told reporters on Friday that celebrations would be "difficult" this year but was optimistic about spending the festival at home.
"But we’ve got Zoom, we’ve got the phone, and most importantly, we’ve got each other," he said.
"Whether you can see someone or not the bond of family, that bond of love is always going to be there.”
Over a billion Hindus around the world are celebrating the start of the festival - over 800 million of them in India.
Many temples across the country streamed prayer sessions online to avoid large gatherings. In New Delhi, worried residents opted for low-key celebrations.
In a bid to encourage people to stay home, India's top officials and leaders held prayer ceremonies at temple which were broadcast on television and social media.