Hindus and Jains across London are getting ready to celebrate Diwali this Sunday, while Sikhs are also marking Bandi Chhor Divas.
As the celebration approaches, shoppers are stocking up on everything from divas and candles to ghee, rice, and Indian sweets.
In Southall, London’s “Little India,” many supermarkets now have special Diwali-themed aisles.
But some independent family-run stores are concerned about the commercialization of Diwali, saying it is causing them to lose revenue.
The south Asian community has strong ties to Southall, as showcased in the hit British film Bend it Like Beckham.
Now, in its second and third generation in the capital, many community members are seeing their religious festivals showcased in mainstream supermarkets.
However, some local businesses believe this comes at the expense of their hard work within the community.
Sira’s Cash and Carry in Southall was established as a small family business over 50 years ago. Indy Sira, a representative, stated “Diwali is a really special time for us. We’ve spent decades building brand awareness.” She added that there was a “noticeable trend” of supermarkets “capitalizing” on the festival, resulting in financial losses for family-run businesses.
Despite this, some Londoners feel that purchasing Diwali products in supermarkets has made the festivities more accessible and introduced other communities to the celebration and its associated foods.
Tesco Southall community champion Madhu Rana emphasized the store’s changing approach over the years, offering “huge varieties” of products.
Store manager Nick Constable said the supermarket also has special aisles for Diwali, Ramadan, and Christmas, offering customers a diverse range of products.
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