GUYANA, October 18, 2014 (Guyana Chronicle, by Cecil Ramkirath): Deepavali (or Diwali), the Festival of Lights, is one of the most enchanting and beautiful festivals that adorn the Hindu calendar. It commemorates the beginning of the Hindu New Year and there is an unmistakable element of fun, laughter, excitement, reunion, and heartfelt felicity associated with the celebration. And why not enjoy and have some fun when the harvest season has ended and the financial books are closed.
Diwali originated in rural India as primarily a harvest festival, a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Diwali is observed in many countries outside of India, and in Guyana and Trinidad, the Hindu community joyfully anticipates the coming of Diwali. The inside and outside of homes are beautifully decorated with diyas (earthen lamps) or candles, and with every passing year, we are literally mesmerized by the spectacularly dazzling display of exquisitely and artistically designed illuminations on motorcades, houses and business premises that seem to outshine the glitter and glamor of Manhattan’s Times Square.
Amidst the jubilation and display, we must not lose sight of the strong spiritual current that runs deep in the proper observance of Diwali. Diwali signifies the light that dispels the darkness of ignorance. This is the light of spiritual knowledge that comes from the long and arduous journey towards self-realisation. We have to keep the light of knowledge and virtue burning brightly within and bring it forth to the world in good actions and deeds, working vigorously and selflessly to eradicate poverty, violence, exploitation, injustice, hatred and cruelty, fiercely resisting all forms of discrimination, forging friendship and goodwill, and in humble and little ways, bring warmth and joy in the lives we touch.