A virtual Festival of Lights
Traditionally, Diwali is a feast for the senses. To celebrate, houses, businesses, and streets are decorated with oil lamps called diyas, firecrackers and fireworks are set off, extended families get together for feasts, and sweets are exchanged and indulged in.
Given restrictions and lockdowns in some places, this year celebrations looked slightly different.
Looking at conversation between November 1 and November 16 2020, we found 3m instances of people wishing others a Happy Diwali on social media. That’s an increase of 6889% compared to the same period in 2019, with many previously in-person greetings going virtual in 2020.
We found nearly 100k posts about online Diwali events, a 3006% increase compared to the same 16 day period in 2019. Online Diwali cooking classes were particularly popular on social media with 84k mentions.
Other popular online events and activities included celebrating with family virtually (52k mentions), creating rangoli art for floors and doorsteps (27k mentions), and ceremonies (24k mentions).
Other notable differences in conversation between November 1 and November 16 2020 included:
- People talking about supporting local businesses as they shop for Diwali — a 2597% increase compared to the same period in 2019. This is a shopping trend we have seen throughout the pandemic.
- People discussing how they missed their family or home — a 2425% increase compared to the same period in 2019.
- Discussion around ordering or sending gifts like sweets — a 1061% increase compared to the same period in 2019.
- People talking about their pollution concerns (eg from fireworks) — a 916% increase compared to the same period in 2019.
Throughout the pandemic it’s been extraordinary to see how people are adapting and thriving, even in the hard times.
Despite the space and restrictions dividing families and friends during the festivities, people found new and exciting ways to celebrate Diwali virtually.
Happy Diwali everyone.
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