Diwali is known as the festival of lights. The name itself comes from the Sanskrit word “deepavali” which means, “row of lighted lamps. The festival is native to the India and Nepal, but today, it is observed all around the world especially in popular cities like New York, Chicago, Dubai, and London. This festival
along with many others paint a beautiful picture of different cultures coming together to showcase their identities, food, music, dressing and traditions.
The festival usually lasts five days especially in the native countries and coincides with the Hindu New Year to signify new beginnings. During this festival, people clean and decorate their homes with oil lamps and lights. They follow this with prayer to the Gods and finish off with dazzling fireworks to match the mouthwatering feast and sweets with their loved ones. Hindus around the world celebrate Diwali and the big day is an official holiday in Fiji, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Mauritius and even in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
Due to growing cultural growth and influence across the world, the festival like many festivals has started to gain importance and acceptance in Europe, America and even major countries in Africa. In the UK, non-Hindus celebrate this day including Prince Charles who attended Diwali celebrations at some Hindu temples in London. Moreover, there have been hundreds of events like concerts and carnivals which used this trending event for promotions and marketing. Some world renowned restaurants even spiced up their menu with classical Indian dishes for everyone to experience the cuisine and how it ties with their culture.
In the US, George W. Bush first celebrated Diwali at the White House in 2003 and the US congress have the festival official status in 2007. The Indian community along with others celebrate it with fireworks, food and community parties. Some schools in New Jersey, Marlyland and New York even declared the day as a school holiday and the US postal service started to issue Diwali postage stamp in 2016. Apart from India and Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago has the largest Hindu community all over the islands which come together to celebrate Diwali. Stage performances, skits depicting Hindu culture and the mythology related to the festival are performed. Delectable Indian foods are prepared and diyas and lamps are lighted. Diwali is a festival that not only brings positive emotions and thoughts in people’s lives but it is also a festival that aims to bring people closer and knit the community in a tighter circle. Diwali as a festival transcends boundaries and evokes hope, faith, love and peace in people’s lives.
Moreover, Australia celebrates Diwali publicly among the people of Indian origin and the local Australians in Brisbane and Melbourne. Federation Square hosts Diwali fairs with live music and traditional dances of India, art and crafts as well as offering a variety of Indian cuisines. Spectacular fireworks are displayed on the Yarra River. In Brisbane, annual Diwali celebrations are held in the city’s Chinatown.
Here are some pictures from around world on this incredible festival;
1. Amritsar, India
2. London, UK
3. Dubai, UAE
4. Sydney, Australia
5. Trinidad and Tobago