For five glorious days, millions of people across the globe gather together to dance and sing through illuminated streets, covered in bright lights and intricate floral decorations to celebrate the spectacular holiday, Diwali.
Diwali is known as the festival of lights and symbolizes the triumph of good over evil (or light over dark). Today people celebrate by exchanging gifts, feasting on mithai (traditional sweets), staging lively dance performances, igniting fireworks and adorning households with rangoli (floor art made with ground chalk and colored rice). The crown jewel of festivities, however, (from which the holiday received its namesake) is the lighting of diyas on the third day of the festival. A time for reflection and celebration, here’s a look at some unexpected places around the world that where Diwali celebrations reign supreme!
Pack your bags, book your flights to London and, of course, don’t forget your dandiyas…South Asians are the second-largest immigrant population in Great Britain. People from all walks of life and different religions appreciate and celebrate this joyous occasion, indulging in lavish feasts, shopping and of course magnificent parades! Over the past decade national and civic leaders (such as Prince Charles, whoa!) have attended Diwali festivals and today the region of Leicester hosts some of the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India.
Trinidad and Tobago
In Trinidad and Tobago, Diwali is a community event, celebrated throughout all of the islands. A major proponent that makes the Islands’ version of Diwali unlike any other across the close, is the Diwali Nagar, or Village of the Festival of Lights, located in Chaguanas, Trinidad. Expect a night jampacked with entertainment, as the stage lights up with live dance and music performances, that are so grand that you’ll be wondering if you stepped into a Bollywood Movie. The stage is also graced with a folk theatre performance featuring skits and plays depicting Lord Ram’s story and many other scenes from Hindu epics. Thousands of people participate in the island-wide festivities and after a week of feasting, dancing, singing, dressing up and lighting diyas, the celebrations are completed with fireworks, ending Diwali with a bang… literally!
With a large Indian population in Australia, cities like Sydney and Melbourne see massive Diwali celebrations, that only grow in both scale and arrangements with each passing year! Most notably, Diwali at Federation Square in Melbourne has grown to become the largest celebration in Australia. From a magnificent display of fireworks to nonstop live entertainment complete with both classical Indian and Bollywood dances, it’s safe to say that Diwali in Australia is a grandiose celebration!
Known as Deepavali in Fiji, the festival is a widely celebrated event; so much so that it’s actually a public holiday! Deepavali in Fiji is often regarded by Indians as being observed on a larger scale than in India! Activities and events begin at least a week before the actual day. A unique feature to Filian Deepavali is the cultural aspect of it; Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Muslims take part in all of the Deepavali rituals and traditions, and celebrate the holiday with much fervor as a time for sharing with friends and family, regardless of their religious associations and practices.
Where are you celebrating the Festival of Lights this year? Let us know in the comments below!