Gold & Diwali: Everything You Need to Know
Each year in October and November, Hindus in every corner of the world celebrate Diwali – the festival of lights; a tradition stretching back more than 2,500 years. Although it is widely observed all over the world, nowhere is it more important than in India,where it is deemed the most significant festival on the national calendar.
Diwali typically falls anywhere between mid-October through mid-November, depending on the Hindu calendar.
There are many legends told as to the origins of Diwali traditions, but one of the most interesting revolves around the 16-year-old son of King Hima. The young man’s horoscope told of his demise on the fourth day of his marriage as a result of a snake-bite. His new wife, on the prophesied day of his death, did not allow her husband to sleep. She lay beautiful ornaments, jewellery and coins of gold and silver at the door of their sleeping chamber and lit all the lamps in the room before proceeding to sing songs and tell stories to her husband to keep him awake all night long.
When Yama, the god of Death arrived, in the form of a serpent, to kill the prince he was blinded by the brilliance of the coins and the lamps and was unable to enter the chamber. Instead, he just sat and listened intently to the songs and stories told by the princess, before slithering away at dawn; leaving the prince completely unharmed.
The ingenuity of his new wife and the prince’s brush with death came to be celebrated as Dhanteras, the first day (followed by Choti Diwali, Diwali, Betsu Baras and Bhai Beej) of the five-day festival and a major shopping day for items of gold.
To put Diwali into true context, it is often considered as the Indian equivalent of Christmas. Retail sales of gold jewellery are known to increase up to 30-40% during Dhanteras.
India’s relationship with gold is one that has evolved across centuries of tradition. It is purchased during Dhanteras to celebrate wealth, purity and prosperity.
Gold In Wider Indian Culture
Precious metals and their associated legend are waters that run deep in the well of Indian culture, transcending Diwali and tapping into different aspects of society such as religion, family and social status.
Gold has grown stronger over the centuries and is a standard fixture in the homes and hearts of the Indian people. India is the second biggest importer of gold in the world.
Gold is a vital component during religious events across India. Hindus, Sikhs, Jainists and Christians all consider gold a key part of their worship. At many religious gatherings, it is customary to share and present gold as a gift.
Gold, in some form, is present in most Indian households and is often passed through generations. It is commonplace for mothers to bequeath gold jewellery to their daughters and relatives on wedding days and is the best way to preserve wealth within the family.
Offering gold as a gift is considered prosperous. Gifting gold represents the value of the individual and is a gift free from impurities. Gold often exchanges hands at births and birthdays, even in more impoverished areas of the country.
Symbol of Social Status
In India, there is no bigger indication of social status than gold. In a population of over 2.2 billion, gold allows its owner to stand out in the crowd. This is by no means a new phenomenon, carrying the same sense of significance throughout the ages.
Invest in Gold This Diwali
Over the past few years, Diwali gifts have moved into other more investment heavy avenues. Many consider gold coins and bullion an excellent opportunity at this time of year.
As we’ve already explored, gold in Indian culture holds a spiritual connection, but there is now a distinct level of financial savviness that goes into these purchases as gold has been used for hundreds of years as a buffer against inflation and flailing economies.
Although global markets have largely recovered from the financial crises, social and political concerns continue to create a volatile marketplace. India has largely followed this trend, with inflation increasing exponentially as the value of the rupee has plummeted.
Thus, for many Hindus celebrating Diwali, purchasing gold is not only an essential part of the religious tradition but also a sensible investment in difficult times.
When To Buy Gold
Due to rising demand, gold prices peak worldwide during Diwali – in 2016 the price rose by 3.9% during the Diwali period. The same is likely to occur this year.
If you are looking to purchase gold this Diwali, either as an investment or as an elegant surprise for a loved one, then now is the perfect time before prices begin to rise.
Keep an eye on our dynamic price chart here.
At Sharps Pixley, we’re committed to providing outstanding gold bullion and coins at the most competitive prices on the market. For more information on Diwali, gold bullion or any of our other products give us a call on 0207 871 0532 or better yet, why not visit our London, St. James’ street showroom to chat to us in person?