Nagpur Today: Perhaps it will come as a surprise to many to learn that Diwali is not just India’s biggest festival; many nations around the world follow this festival with great pomp and show. About two decades ago, a couple from Nagpur visiting Singapore during Diwali holidays were very surprised to find the Singapore airport decorated with marigold flowers, roses, diyas and rangolis! Not just Indians, every foreigner landing there was greeted with a cheery “Happy Diwali ” and offered mithai.
Diwali is also celebrated outside of India mainly in Guyana, Fiji, Malaysia, Nepal, Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Africa, Australia and the US among the Hindus across the world.
Diwali celebrations in Guyana
Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is located on the northeast coast of South America. Guyana is 82,978 square miles in area and has a population of about 7,70,000. Hindus constitute 33% of Guyana’s total population. The Co-operative Republic of Guyana in Southern America celebrates Diwali according to the Hindu Solar calendar. The day of the festival is declared as a national holiday in the official calendar of Guyana. The tradition of celebrating the festival is believed to have been brought to Guyana in the year 1853 by the first indentured people from India.
Diwali celebrations in Indonesia
The name Indonesia came from two Greek words: “Indos” meaning Indian and “Nesos” meaning islands. The majority of population follows Islam and Hindus constituent just 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 is that of Indians. It is one of the most revered festivals of the locals here. The celebration and rituals of the festival is mostly similar to that celebrated by their counterparts in India.
Diwali celebrations in Malaysia
Fascinating in its diversity, Malaysia has many mesmerizing charms and attractions. With a population of about 20 million, comprising of a harmonious multi-ethnic mix of Malays, Malaysia promises a colorful potpourri of cultural traditions. . The Hindu community of Malaysia constitutes about 8% of its total population .The community celebrates Diwali as a symbol of triumph of good over evil. It is interesting that Malay Indians celebrate Diwali as the South Indians of India do. The Malaysian people call Diwali as Hari Diwali. This festival is celebrated during the 7th month of the Hindu solar calendar. The south Indian traditional of oil bath precedes the festivities. The celebration includes visits to temples and prayers at household altars. Small lamps made from clay and filled with coconut oil and wicks are a common sight to signify the victory of Lord Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, over the demon king Ravana.