Snapchat celebrates the Indian festival of Diwali

IMG_0404Snapchatters all over the world are getting a dose of Indian culture today.

The ephemeral picture-sharing app, which last weekend made its first foray into advertising, introduced a new collection of snaps called “Diwali in India,” celebrating the widely-celebrated Indian festival of lights. The collection is a part of Snapchat’s “Our Story” feature, which lets users collectively post photos and videos captured at the same live event on a common thread, for the entire Snapchat community to see.

“Our Story” is found in the “Live” section under Recent Updates, where users anywhere in the world can experience stories created by the Snapchat community at selected events. Users can then open their app, find the collection of snaps from that event, and watch it as a single Snapchat story. Anybody at the event and within a certain geolocation can contribute to the content stream, which is then curated by Snapchat to weave a story around the event. The feature doesn’t identify who created which snaps, only showing that they were all captured at the same event.

“We receive a lot of hours of content and curate to create the best story,” Mary Ritti, vp of communications at Snapchat, told Digiday. “It lets people feel like they are actually at the event, even if they are across the world.”

Since its launch in late August at the Electric Daisy Carnival this year, the “Our Story” feature has hosted several popular live events such as music festivals and sports games on the platform– virtually involving even all those people that aren’t physically there. It has enabled live-streamed videos and photos to truly reach out a mass audience, giving itself a viable monetizing opportunity and making itself a sure-shot option for brands and events to consider. And with Universal Pictures’ new horror-thriller “Ouja,” being the first ad on the platform, it seems that brand and event sponsors are not too far away in the future.

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated every fall, in which families decorate their homes, light lamps, pray to the goddess Lakshmi, and engage in general merriment. Snapchat users in India have contributed photos and videos capturing fireworks in the sky, traditional prayer ceremonies and colorful floral decorations.IMG_0405

The festival is gaining traction in the U.S. too, with Indians comprising over 2 million of the population, and even President Obama having celebrated it at the White House.  Even Google has had Diwali-special doodles before, so Snapchat joining the fray is hardly surprising. Moreover, the platform has even introduced a special font in India for the section, inspired by traditional color motifs on the floor called “rangolis.”

“We receive a lot of requests from Snapchatters all around the world, asking to cover different and unique events that are meaningful to them in ‘Our Story,'” Ritti said. “We love the idea of giving the Snapchat community a glimpse of interesting things that are happening around the world.”

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