Divali (Festival of Lights) in Trinidad & Tobago


Divali is celebrated by Hindus in India and around the globe. Divali, known worldwide as the Festival of Lights, derives its name from the Sanskrit word deepavali. Deepavali refers to a display of lights or deya (small clay lamps). It connotes victory of brightness over darkness and good over evil on what is believed to be the darkest night of the year. In Trinidad & Tobago, where the population is approximately 40 percent Indian, the festival is celebrated by the young and old, rich and poor with colorful events and extravagant light displays. Divali, the largest Hindu festival on the island, will be celebrated on October 17, 2009.

Hindus in Trinidad celebrate Divali with a host of activities in the home where various dishes and sweets are prepared and a pooja (prayer) is performed. At dusk, everyone joins in lighting and placing the deyas around the home. The sacred festival is known to bring about positive feelings in the community and is marked by unity, cleanliness, harmony, and festivity. Although Divali is a Hindu celebration, in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious Trinidadian society it is celebrated as a national holiday by people of all denominations.

Divali celebrations in Trinidad begin nine days before the actual event. During those nine nights there are dance performances, theatre, displays by various Hindu religious sects and social organizations, nightly worship of Mother Lakshmi (goddess of wealth), lighting of deyas, and partaking in Indian culinary delicacies. The festival culminates in a spectacular fireworks display.

For full article, see http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-18533–17-17–.html

Photo from http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/2008/10/shubh-divali.html

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