Queen Elizabeth hails Diwali in Christmas message, doesn’t mention pandemic – world news

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Noting that people of all faiths could not celebrate festivals the standard way this year, Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message on Friday hailed Diwali, the festival of lights, which she said given moments of hope and unity in a year that has kept people apart.

The widely-watched royal message recorded in mid-December in Windsor did not mention “pandemic” or “Covid-19”, but she said the year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought them closer.

She said, “Yearly, we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive temper – light brings hope. For Christians, Jesus is ‘the light of the world’, but we will’t celebrate his birth today in reasonably the standard way.

“People of all faiths have been unable to collect as they would wish for their festivals, such as Passover, Easter, Eid and Vaisakhi. But we need life to go on. Final month, fireworks lit up the sky around Windsor, as Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, providing joyous moments of hope and unity – despite social distancing.”

The queen, 94, Prince Philip, 99, and other members of the British royal generally spend Christmas in the country retreat of Sandringham, Norfolk, but the royal couple has been living in Windsor and won’t visit other members of the family because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Across the Commonwealth, she said stories of people volunteering in communities had inspired her and her circle of relatives.

Paying tributes to nurses, the youth and others who rose to the challenges of the year, she said, “There is hope in the new daybreak.”

She said, “Of class lesson, for plenty of, this time of the year will be tinged with sadness: some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others lacking friends and family-members distanced for safety, when all they’d actually want for Christmas is a straightforward hug or a squeeze of the hand.

“If you’re among them, you don’t seem to be alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers,” she added, wishing people “a more than happy Christmas”.

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