The Festival Of Lights: Diwali Celebrations Around The World

By: Kauser Khan, Associate Editor-ICN Group

The Malaysian people call Diwali as Hari Diwali.Diwali is celebrated almost all over the Malaysia except in Sarawak & Federal Territory of Labuan. 

Deepavali, a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of lighted lamps”, it is one of the most popular festivals celebrated across South Asia.Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a major Hindu festival celebrated with much fervour across the country.According to the Hindu holy books, the festival marks the return of Lord Ram from Sri Lanka to Ayodhya after defeating Raavan.

Here are some countries which celebrate Diwali with as much fanfare as we Indians do with a little difference in celebrations. 

Mauritius is a beautiful landmass full of picturesque landscapes and enchanting spots. Mauritius accounts a 63% of Indian majority of which 80% follow Hinduism. Hence, celebration of almost all the Hindu festivals in this island is a common phenomenon. In Mauritius, Diwali celebration is an age-old tradition.

The name Indonesia came from two Greek words: “Indos” meaning Indian and “Nesos” meaning islands. The majority of population in Indonesia follows Islam. Hindus constituent about 2% of Indonesia’s total population. However, the Indonesian island of Bali is famous for celebrating the festival of Diwali, as a majority of the population here are Indians.

The Hindu community of Malaysia constitutes about 8% of its total population. The community celebrates Diwali festival as a symbol of triumph of good over evil. The Malaysian people call Diwali as Hari Diwali. The south Indian tradition of oil bath precedes all the rituals of Diwali Festival. The Diwali celebration includes visits to temples and prayers at household altars. Diwali is celebrated almost all over the Malaysia except in Sarawak & Federal Territory of Labuan.

One of the festivals that unite the people irrespective of their religion and nationality is Diwali in Singapore.Hindus celebrate the annual Festival of Lights – Diwali – with elaborate light and candle decorations, creating a beautiful spectacle as the night draws in.

Srilanka’s celebration may lack many of the traditional aspects of Diwali such as games, fireworks, singing and dancing, but the tradition of a large meal is admirably preserved.

In Britain, as in India, the Diwali festival is a time for thoroughly spring-cleaning the home and for wearing new clothes and most importantly, decorating buildings with fancy lights.The British city of Leicester is noted for its Diwali Festival celebrations.

Diwali is one of the major festivals that is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Australia. The lightening of lamps and diyas on Diwali is a common practice.

Diwali, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most anticipated events in Trinidad. Although it is a Hindu festival, in the island’s multicultural and multi-religious society it is a national holiday observed by people of all denominations. The day is marked by prayers, feasts and the lighting of thousands of diyas (small clay pots filled with oil in which a wick is immersed and lit) all over the country.

The tradition of celebrating the Diwali festival is believed to have been brought to Guyana in the year 1853 by the first indentured people from India. The legends related to the festival are similar to that of India. The celebration of the festival includes, distribution of sweets, illuminating the inside and out side of the house, exchange of greetings, cleaning of houses and wearing of new clothes. The celebrations hold special significance for the people of Guyana.

The celebration of Diwali festival in Surinam is not as traditional as that observed by Indians. But Hindus residing in here try their best to absorb most of the aspects associated with Diwali.The celebration include, distribution of sweets, exchange of greetings, cleaning of houses and wearing clean clothes. Lightining of homes, Goddess Lakshmi puja and visiting temples are also other important features of the celebaration.

Diwali, “the Festival of Lights” is celebrated with much fanfare and gaiety in the country of Fiji. A significant number of Hindus residing in this country celebrate the festival with traditional good will and rituals.