Stuck in lockdown, you may find yourself daydreaming about those times when you could easily run down the street and hug your friends. The Covid-19 pandemic has lefts its marks both on global scenarios and personal relationships. Migrant workers, business owners, college students—everyone has witnessed drastic differences in their lives. But the spirit of humanity is to move past anything and adjust even in this new normal. Festivals have always been such an inherent part of our society, especially in India. They are not just about good food and pretty clothes, though that too is important. They are a way to celebrate culture and embrace the multitudes in which it exists. They are about connection, about love and family. So, it can be hard to imagine enjoying them with a distance of 1 metre between you and everyone you care about. So should we give up on all celebrations this year or go wild without regard for safety? The answer is neither. We can give some experiences up, in exchange for gaining new ones. Celebrating festivals in a lockdown can give us a new perspective of a centuries-old tradition. It can make us realise just how precious those moments were so that we don’t take them for granted whenever we get them back. Festivals in lockdown can also create the kind of enjoyment we may never have pictured before, but that doesn’t mean it is any less cherishable. How to celebrate festivals in lockdown? It can be challenging to considering celebrating festivals in the pandemic. Chances are that the general dreary vibe of this year has already put a damper on your mood and you almost want to cancel everything and give up. It’s normal to feel that way in this situation but just pause for a moment to reflect on some things. So much of religion and culture is based on contact, so having that taken away may make it seem like the essence of festivals is gone. But that’s far beyond the truth. Now may be the time to remember the true essence of festivals, the one that lies under the brightly lit exterior. At the heart of any celebration is a moment of stillness and peace. The core has always been spiritual, more about connecting to the harmony of the universe and all the lives that exist in it, than anything else. So, what better way to connect to that silence, than this lockdown? Celebrating festivals in the pandemic can be a way to realise just what makes them so special. Often, the feelings can be forgotten under all the loudness of the music and shouting. Thus, now that we have no choice but to remain in the same place, we can use this opportunity to observe the ordinary in the way we may have missed over the years. Now is the time to be innovative and creative as we focus on what matters the most, what we ask for at the end of every prayer, what we celebrate in every festival—our safety, our security, our love. These are things that we still have and thus, these are things that demand celebration, only this time, something more mindful. Here are a few ideas about how to celebrate festivals in lockdown: 1. Decorating Your Home When we were able to celebrate outside, we often didn’t take as much time decorating our homes. Sure, we cleaned the corner and threw out the old stuff, but most of us rarely bothered to handmake our decorations. Now that the home has become the seat of the celebration, it is time to think about just how you can brighten those walls for festivals in lockdown. For example, for Diwali celebrations in lockdown, you can learn to make the lanterns and diyas yourself, while also finding new ways to beautify your home. 2. Cooking Food is such an essential part of celebrations because the food itself is a token of culture. Cooking is a tradition passed down from generation to generation with special tips added, bringing people together. Festivals like Eid have a huge feast and get-together to mark the day. In this lockdown, we can learn how to cook some of these dishes for festivals ourselves. So this time when you crave a ladoo, instead of using the internet to order it, use the internet to figure how to cook it. 3. Video calling friends and relatives You can’t invite your friends and extended family to your home. So, just give them a call! Use video calling to connect even those people who live in other countries and thus, have never been able to attend a celebration physically. Celebrating festivals in the pandemic through video calling gives the opportunity to bring all your loved ones in one room, with their tiny celebrations going on at home and this one huge network connecting you together. 4. Spending time with family We often end up ignoring the people that are the closest to us. Thus, in the excitement of meeting our friends, we forget just how precious the time spent with our family is. Interacting with each other is one of the tips for having a happy, healthy family. During festivals in lockdown, you get the chance to embrace your closest loved ones in a way you maybe haven’t for years. Through the experience of decorating your home together, making food and then eating it side by side, your bond has a family will gain many new moments to share and cherish. Thus, the first step in knowing how to celebrate festivals in lockdown is to realise that you don’t have to figure it out all alone. Hold the hands of your family members and discuss ways to have your unique celebration. 5. Connecting through social media People may scoff at social media and say that it disconnects people with its irresistibility, but now is the time to use this very power of social media for our gain. By sending out wishes through texting and posting about our family celebrations on sites, we can still share these moments. Looking at the pictures of your home decoration, someone else may get inspired to sit up and try and celebrate, too. Thus, social media here becomes a threat that binds all these individual festivals in lockdown to bring them together into a collective. 6. Diwali celebrations in lockdown With the date coming soon, the idea of a Diwali in lockdown can be disheartening. We are used to the usual firecrackers and endless hugs until late at night. Giving that away may seem like taking the joy right out of Diwali, especially for children. But now is the time to appreciate what we do have: each other. This is a chance to celebrate a Diwali that causes no pollution and no harm to other creatures. It’s a possibility of a celebration spent connecting with your family even more so that even if the sky is bare without any colourful explosions, each home can still be lit to the brightest level, till the festival of lights lives up to its name once again, just in a different way. Here are a few ideas about Diwali celebrations in lockdown: Decorate your home in a way you haven’t before. Make a few diyas and lanterns, no matter how they turn out. The fact that you put in the effort will make them shine through and through. Practice the art of rangoli by watching tutorials and trying out new designs daily, so you can finally draw one of your own instead of always watching from the sidelines. Enhance your Diwali in lockdown by making those snacks yourself, so you can add that delicious extra touch of your love. Exchange gifts with your family and send some out to those who live far away. You may not be able to meet them in person, but you can still make the festival special for them. Dress up as beautifully as you want, with all the accessories you were not able to manage when you went out. Now, you can put in the time to give yourself the look you have always desired and click a few selfies to share it with your special ones if you want. Many Diwali themed games have simulations of the celebration. So, you can play these together with either your family, friends, colleagues, etc. Through this, you will grow closer and also get a hint of those parts of celebrations that are not possible right now. Send out food and gifts to all the watchmen, maids, cooks etc because they are all the hardworking people who are such an important part of our life, as this lockdown has proven. Post on social media and send out messages of love to those you care about so that they know you are thinking of them in these special days, more than ever, now that you are apart. Don’t give in to the temptation and disregard the safety rules, no matter how frustrated you may be. Remember to still follow the health guidelines recommended for the pandemic even as you enjoy your Diwali in lockdown. Making the most of the moment It is okay to still miss the usual celebrations, even when you have fun at home. But always remember that all we can do is make the most of what we have. It may not seem like much, but what we hold in our hands is as heavy in worth as infinity itself. Always be mindful to the current situation and do not be careless in your excitement. Remember that the essence of festivals is to celebrate our time together and take care of each other. Right now, the only way to do that is by staying at home and celebrating festivals in lockdown in a joyous but safe manner.