Diwali- Not just an Indian Festival

Diwali- Not just an Indian Festival

Diwali also called Deepawali remarks as the most significant festival of Hindus. The spiritual significance of the festival lies in the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. Diwali marks the return of Lord Shri Ram back to Ayodhya after his victorious battle with Ravana. It was a 21-day long return journey and so the festival of Diwali falls exactly after 21 days from Dusshera. Diwali, the only five-day long Hindu festival that is accompanied by other festivities.

Dhanteras marks the beginning of this festive season. This day the gold souks receive thousands of customers for the purchase of Gold it is believed to be a sign of auspiciousness and bring forth prosperity in the house.  This day is followed by Chotti Diwali and then the much awaited day of Diwali is here. After a day well spent in embracing the house with beautiful diyas, colourful, and vivid Rangoli people pray to Lord Ganesha and Lordess Laxmi followed by bursting of crackers…I remember as a kid I used to do that even days before Diwali.

After this comes my favourite day…Govardhan Pooja. This day is special because this day a very scrumptious dish is cooked with the number of ingredients being over a 100. The ingredients include all sorts of veggies, fruits and dry fruits. As you delve yourself into this lip-smacking dish you realize approaching the end of the festive season. The day of Bhai-Dooj is what is celebrated as the last day of this long festival. According to the Hindu calendar, this is the second lunar day of bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) and just like Raksha Bandhan sisters once again get to dig a hole in their brothers pocket.

Thejollification of Diwali is not only limited to India but all over the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth including countries like Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Nepal, Sri Lanka and much more.  Let’s me take this opportunity to showcase few of them adhering to the purpose of the post… Diwali-Not just an Indian Festival

Durban celebrates Diwali!

Yeshira Sewdayal (Brown Girl Journal) shares the way Durban enjoys this festival.

Durban is the “largest ‘Indian’ city outside India”, as it is home to Indian South Africans (of Indian descent) residing in and around the city. In 1860,  Indians were brought over by the British to work as indentured labourers in Durban. Within the Durban Indian community, the dominant religions are Hinduism, Christianity and
Islam.

One of the biggest festivals celebrated in Durban, if not the biggest, is Diwali! Indian
families come together – from all religions, to celebrate the festival of lights every
year. It is not an official holiday in South Africa however, many Indians take the day
of work to spend with their families, perform pooja (prayer) and charity work, burst
fireworks and light lamps in and around their homes.

Feeding the empty stomachs roadside
Feeding the empty stomachs roadside

The South African Hindu Maha Sabha, together with sponsors, host the Durban
Diwali festival showcasing local cultural talent such as dancing, singing, playing
musical instruments, plays and skits, as well as cultural speeches. A breath-taking
display of fireworks takes place at night and close to 100 000 people from all
backgrounds, from all parts of the country, gather to watch this magnificent display of
light!

Durban Diwali - Cultural Show
Durban Diwali – Cultural Show                                                                  *source- Rising Sun, Chatsworth

The Durban Diwali Festival has grown significantly over the years and has now become a tourist attraction and a treat for photographers who want to capture the culture of Durban Indians. Celebrating Diwali in Durban certainly, gives you the feeling of togetherness, charity, love and happiness!

Well, I hope this post invigorated you to enjoy this festival of light beyond India. For all those travel enthusiasts out there, if you are asked to stay back at home during festivities show this to your parents and take them on a trip to showcase the global popularity of Diwali. ANd if this’s not sufficient to covey them so just hang on, there’s more coming up all the way from LONDON



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