Holidays Away From Home

I first wrote this blog post a couple of weeks ago, but a busy schedule, birthdays and a temperamental VPN conspired against me and I’m now only just managing to post it!

First Beijing Birthday

Diwali has now come and gone, but I still wanted to share my thoughts.  And so, here it is, dated & delayed, but here all the same(!)


After a Summer of London, New York and of course Beijing I can’t believe it’s October.  Usually in London the stores would be filled with Halloween goodies and Christmas treats would begin to make their way onto the shelves.  There’s no avoiding the fact that holiday season is approaching!

To me the end of Summer will always mean new stationery and books, new shoes and scarves and an incredible, vibrancy as the leaves turned golden and everything is coated in new possibilities.  This time of year also means Navratri (the nine day festival celebrating the different aspects of the Hindu Goddess Durga) with Diwali not far behind.

Being away from home meant that for the first time I was unable to celebrate Navratri with family and friends.  It is without doubt my favourite festival and it saddens me that those nine evenings passed unmarked my first year here.  This year is also my first Diwali away from family.  Whilst in University I would always return home to celebrate with everyone.  Flying home for the weekend is unfortunately not an option right now!  But I’m slowly realising that beginning my own traditions, is.

‘Diwali Beijing Style’ gives me the chance to make not just my own traditions, but our own ones; this is the first Diwali I will spend with my fiancé in our new home, as we begin to plan for our married life.  And whilst it won’t be the same, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.  I’m a little excited as I start to think about the possibilities!  Instead of cooking family favourites, maybe we order pizza (a firm Palan Favourite!) and in lieu of sending cards to people, we Skype home.  I know I’ll still light candles throughout the apartment, but maybe I’ll get creative adding fresh flowers and floating candles into the mix.  And just because I can’t be with everyone at home doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate and share the day with new friends.  Maybe some of these new rituals will be ones we carry with us through our lives and will feature in our celebrations for years to come.

I won’t lie, the thought of being away from everyone at this time of year still saddens me, but I am excited about all the new possibilities.  Perhaps that’s a sign of growing up?  Perhaps it’s just what happens when you find yourself away from home on the holidays.  Either way I’m looking forward to making our first Diwali away from home, in our new home, memorable.

The Remnants of a Midnight Feast on Diwali

How do you celebrate holidays when you’re away from home?