29 October 2013
Diwali festival full of fun and fireworks
The festival of Diwali (or Deepavali) will be widely celebrated across India and around the world over the next fortnight. This includes ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 host countries Australia and New Zealand, both of which have sizable Indian communities.
It is a religious festival observed worldwide primarily by people of the Hindu and Jain faiths, and is a national holiday for countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.
The five-day festival commences on a different day each year, as it is linked with the Hindu calendar, falling between mid-October and mid-November.
There are a number of Diwali variations across India and other parts of the world, but according to the Hindu Council of Australia, “in the current world, what the festival of lights really stands for is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friend ship, religious tolerance, spreading the word of peace and harmony and above all, celebration of simple joys of life.”
The festival involves the lighting of small clay lamps with oil, which are kept alight during the night, and also firecrackers, which are believed to drive away evil spirits.
Most public celebrations in Australia and New Zealand involve some arts and crafts, dance and music performances, traditional food and fireworks displays.
This year, Diwali falls on November 3, but celebrations will take place across the two countries from as early as mid-October through until early November.
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