Truly a global festival of light and unity, Diwali is vibrantly celebrated worldwide. The festival comes alive with enthusiasm and fervor in various parts of the world, each place adding its own unique customs and traditions to the grand spectacle.
The Indian community in Australia observes Diwali with traditional puja (prayers), cultural performances, and the lighting of lamps. In cities like Sydney and Melbourne, large-scale events featuring dance, music, and Indian cuisine showcase the rich tapestry of Indian culture.
In Canada, the Indian diaspora comes together to celebrate Diwali with cultural programs, community gatherings, and the illumination of traditional lamps. Major cities like Toronto and Vancouver host Diwali events that reflect the diversity and inclusivity of Canadian society.
Due to Fiji's substantial Indian population, Diwali is celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm and exhilaration. As it is also a public holiday, individuals participate by hosting gatherings and engaging in the exchange of gifts.
Guyana boasts a unique blend of Indian and Caribbean culture, and Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Diyas are lit in homes and at temples, and the festivities include singing, dancing, and traditional Indian dishes like roti and curry.
In Malaysia, Diwali is known as Hari Diwali, and although the customs have slight variations compared to those in India, the essence remains intact. The day begins with an oil bath in the morning, followed by temple visits for prayers. As the sale of fireworks is prohibited in Malaysia, people commemorate the festival by sharing sweets, gifts, and warm wishes.
Diwali is a national holiday in Mauritius, where nearly two-thirds of the population is of Indian descent. The celebrations include lighting oil lamps, decorating homes, and exchanging gifts. The local Hindu temples are beautifully adorned with colorful lights and decorations.
In Nepal, Diwali is celebrated as Tihar, a five-day festival dedicated to various animals. Each day has its own significance, with dogs, cows, crows, and oxen being honored on different days. On the third day, Laxmi Puja is observed, dedicated to the goddess of wealth.
In Singapore, Diwali is celebrated with a multicultural twist. The streets of Little India are adorned with intricate rangoli patterns, and major shopping districts, such as Orchard Road, come alive with festive decorations. The entire nation revels in the spirit of Diwali, reflecting the multicultural fabric of the country.
In South Africa, Diwali is a significant celebration for the large Indian community. The festival is marked by lighting lamps, exchanging sweets, and visiting friends and family. Durban, with its substantial Indian population, hosts one of the most impressive Diwali festivals in the country.
Diwali holds a special place in the hearts of Sri Lankans, making it one of the country's most cherished festivals. Recognizing its significance, Sri Lanka designates Diwali as a public holiday. People light small lamps to dispel malevolent forces, symbolizing the hope for a brighter future.
In Thailand, Diwali is celebrated as Lam Kriyongh, and the festivities closely resemble those of Diwali. It is observed on the full moon day of the 12th month according to the Thai calendar. Awe-inspiring and extravagant fireworks displays grace the occasion.
Trinidad and Tobago
This Caribbean nation boasts a vibrant Diwali celebration, thanks to its Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonian population. The festival is marked by the lighting of diyas and elaborate fireworks displays. Traditional Indian sweets and delicacies, such as barfi and saffron rice, are shared with friends and neighbors.
In the United Kingdom, Diwali has become a significant cultural and religious event. Leicester, a city in the Midlands, hosts one of the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India. Tens of thousands of people gather for a grand procession through the streets, accompanied by traditional music and dance. The Golden Mile, known for its abundance of Indian restaurants and shops, is beautifully illuminated during this time.
Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the United States, especially in areas with a significant Indian diaspora. The White House annually hosts a Diwali celebration, where the President lights a diya (oil lamp) to mark the festival. In places like New York, New Jersey, and California, public Diwali events, parades, and cultural programs bring the community together.
Surely, Diwali is a festival that transcends boundaries, connecting people across the world through its message of light, hope, and the triumph of good over evil. This global celebration of Diwali underscores the power of culture to bring communities together, regardless of where they may call home.