Thursday, 23 October 2014

Diwali Round the World

By: Team PenTastic

[Written by: Tanuja Pattnaik]


It’s Diwali time! I’m sure everyone is busy with the cleaning of houses, decorations, buying gifts, crackers and what not. But amongst all these festivities and celebrations, have you ever wondered if it is only us who celebrate Diwali or do others around the globe also participate equally in the celebrations?
Diwali, the festival of lights, is not limited within the borders of our nation. It has spread to all parts of the world, and it celebrated with equal vigour by Indians, wherever they have settled. In the course of time, the festival has acquired many distinct features and traditions marked by the region. But nevertheless, the spirit of celebration has not ceased. Let us have a look at the way Diwali is celebrated in various countries apart from India.
Owing to the fact that it is the only Hindu country in the world, our neighbouring country celebrates Diwali as one of the most important festivals. It goes by the name “Tihar” in Nepal and is celebrated as the festival of lights and people worship Goddess Lakshmi, the God of wealth. All houses are decorated with earthen lamps. Wearing new clothes, socialising, merry making and exchanging gifts and sweets are all part of the custom.
Diwali celebration goes on for a period of five days, with the initial four days devoted to the worship of various animals, namely the crow, the dog, the cow and the ox. The fifth day is for brothers, known as Bhai Tika, which is similar to what we celebrate as Rakshya Bandhan. On this day, sisters apply tilak (tika) on their brothers’ foreheads, seeking their blessings and praying for their long life.

            This is a country with a population comprising of more than 63% Hindus. This is a reason enough for Diwali to be declared as an important event. Diwalli here is celebrated almost in the same way as in India, with the cleaning of households and lighting lamps to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and also the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura. This island nation glitters with festivities during the Diwali days.

            Although it is a predominantly Muslim country, Malayasia is known for its multicultural diversities. People of various religions celebrate their festivals with great enthusiasm. The Malayasian government has declared it as a national holiday and the Hindu population of the country, which account for about 7%, celebrate this day as “Hari Diwali”. Houses are lit up and it signifies the victory of good over evil. Gifts are exchanged and prayers for the ancestors and dead are offered.

Diwali in the Fiji islands is an important public event in the cultural calendar. People from all religions celebrate this day with equal fervour. It is a day that marks traditional pujas, feasting and amusement.

            The land of the humming bird has been celebrating Diwali since as early as the mid 1800s. It is celebrated with much pomp and show. The villages across the country are filled with houses that are lit up by lamps. People perform puja of Goddess Lakshmi. There is much merry making and festivity around the nation on this day.

            Singapore’s Little India doesn’t really remain ‘little’ on Diwali. Rituals, elaborate decorations of houses, rangolis mark the spectacular celebration of this day. It is also one major factor for attracting tourists to the country.

            Now, with people celebrating Diwali with such fervour round the world, we certainly wouldn’t like to fall behind. So, have all the fun this Diwali. Wishing you all a very happy and safe Diwali!!!

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