Diwali is the biggest festival of India and is celebrated with lot of pomp and show. But, do you know Diwali is celebrated with great fanfare in other countries as well? It is celebrated in Guyana, Fiji, Malaysia, Nepal, Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Africa, Australia and the US. Irrespective of their religious and economic background, the festival is celebrated in many countries to ward off the darkness and welcome the light into their lives. Check out the list of the following countries where Diwali is celebrated with same enthusiasm and fun as in India.
Mauritius boasts of 63% of its entire population to be Indian, of which 80% follow Hinduism. Hence, Diwali is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and fun. The natives believe that Diwali has been celebrated even long before the return of Lord Rama from 14 years of exile and his coronation as the king. Beautifully lit earthen lamps are placed around the houses in rows turning the island into a picturesque landscape. Diwali also symbolizes the arrival of the summer season in the country.
Diwali is quite a major festival in the country with lots of Diwali events, like carnivals and fairs, organized in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. The events feature fireworks display, food stalls offering Diwali sweets and delicacies, musical performances.
To Japanese people, Diwali signifies progress, happiness, longevity and prosperity. In Japan, instead of lighting their homes up, people go out to gardens and orchards and hang colorful lanterns and paper-made structures on the branches of trees. The places of worship are decorated with wallpapers so as to bring out a festive mood.
In Malaysia the Hindus constitutes about 8% of total population. They celebrate Diwali as a symbol of triumph of good over evil. Known as Hari Diwali, the traditional ritual of oil bath begins the festival followed by prayers at household altars and visit to temples. Temples are adorned with flowers and oil lamps while parades and concerts are organized in some of the major cities.
South Africa is home to the largest immigrant Indian population in the world and so Diwali is not new to the country. The festival fills the parks ad streets with numerous Indian food stalls and shop kiosks, a program featuring kids’ activities, traditional Indian dancing and performances from both local and “imported” musical groups.
Thailand is known to be a culturally rich country; hence a celebration of one of the most important festivals of the Hindus is an integral part of its itinerary. Here, the diyas are made of banana leaves instead, which hold candles, a coin and incense. The diyas are then set afloat on a river which makes it quite a spectacular sight for the people to witness.
Singapore’s Diwali celebrations are amongst the brightest in the world, with a spectacular display of lights throughout different cities. The place called “Little India” located in Serangoon Road, is fully covered with lights, colorful arches and garlands. In the morning people visit the temple to offer prayers while the evenings witness some light sparklers.
Trinidad & Tobago
Diwali holds a special place in the hearts of citizens of the Caribbean nation, with 43% of the population being of Indian origin. The day is officially declared as a public holiday. The celebrations start 9 days before the actual event. These 9 days are laced with dance performances, displays by Hindu religious sects, theatre, worship of Goddess Lakshmi and lighting of diyas and the last day sees a spectacular display of fireworks.
In USA, spectacular display of sparkling electronic lights is the highlight of the celebrations. The houses are decorated with Colorful rangoli and earthen lamps. By the evening time, people gather at the community hall nearby where various cultural events are organized. Along with the events various fire crackers are burst and Diwali sweets and snacks are distributed among the gathered members. Exchanging of gifts also prove as a dominant ritual.