This November 12, Diwali, the Festival of Lights will be celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists all around the world.
It is the most important holiday of the year for these communities and while each has a different religious story as the focus for the celebration, all celebrate the victory of good over evil.
This is represented by the lighting of lamps which symbolises a spiritual victory of light over darkness or humans’ ability to overcome.
Each day of the festival brings something new, with many undertaking a spring clean of the home to prepare for the new year (and upcoming festivities!)
Many homes and places of business will be decorated with fancy lights and maybe a Rangoli, which is a colourful design made of coloured powders or sand.
The main celebration of the festival involves the coming together to share in feasts of special festival food and watch the spectacular fireworks displays.
There are also days of gift giving and time to spend with family and friends.
With these religious groups representing around 1 million of Australians there are sure to be many lamp-lighting celebrations across the country, including some of our team here at MAX.
We spoke to a few of our team to see how they will be celebrating this year:
Binay Maharaj, EBC BM, commented:
“This year I will be celebrating Diwali with my family in Sydney. We start the preparations days ahead, which include cleaning and decorating the home with fairy lights and making sweets. Diwali is believed to be the darkest night in the Hindu Lunar Calendar, so we will be lighting lots of diyas (oil lamps) on that night. We decorate rangoli which is a creative art using colours. It represents happiness, positivity and good luck. As kids, our parents reminded us to be on our best behaviours on this day as they believed that whatever you do on the day of Diwali will follow you for the rest of the year (bit superstitious – I know), but the way I see it today, is that it encourages us to reflect, refresh and restart as we step into the new year. I wish everyone celebrating – a Happy Diwali”
Trainer Sadhna Shammi Lata Singh Kumar said:
“Every year I celebrate Diwali by doing a deep clean of our house - inside and outside. As we Hindus believe that Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha visit, a clean and well decorated house welcomes the goddess of wealth and prosperity. I make lot of sweets and I fast for the three days before Diwali. We do religious rituals, light diyas and candles for the three days as well. On the main Diwali day we do our final prayers, distribute sweets and meet all our families and friends, forgive everyone and celebrate new beginnings.”
Program manager Fancy Mehta commented:
“Diwali is a special time for us Australians of Indian origin and it reminds me of the festivities I had in India as a child. We celebrate Diwali each year beginning with a deep spring clean, followed by lights and diyas (clay oil lamps). This year I will be celebrating Diwali with friends and family on a Diwali dinner cruise party on the Yarra. We will wear new clothes, do our prayers and eat lots of sweets on Diwali and hopefully get to watch the fireworks display in the CBD. Here’s wishing all my friends a happy Diwali and a prosperous new year ahead.”
Niru Sinha, employment support consultant – DES, said:
“As I celebrate my first Diwali in Melbourne, I am filled with both excitement and a hint of nostalgia. While I am thrilled to mark this special occasion with new friends, I especially long for the presence of my daughter Jasmine and my beloved pet Sushi. Cooking sweets, delicious food, and illuminating my surroundings with lights will be my way of celebrating, while avoiding fireworks for a greener Diwali.
“Decorating my surroundings with radiant lights will be another highlight of my celebration. These lights will serve as a symbol of hope, positivity, and the triumph of light over darkness. Illuminating my space will fill it with a sense of warmth and joy. Although I'm far from home, I look forward to embracing the multicultural spirit of Melbourne, creating new traditions with newfound friends. I wish everyone happy and prosperous Diwali.”