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Diwali in India and around the world
November 11, 2015, 4:52 pm

Diwali festival enhances the feelings of being part of a close-knit group of Indians wherever they are. It is a time to focus on family and friends, and a time to reflect on the past and envision the future. 

Celebration of Diwali in India:

Jaipur: Much of the beauty of Diwali comes from the warm glow of lights and lamps which adorn streets, homes, and shops. One of the best places to experience this is in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, in Rajasthan, where not just buildings but whole markets are illuminated. Each year, there is a competition for the best decorated and most brilliantly lit-up market, and the government foots the electricity bill. It is a dazzling display that attracts visitors from all over India. Just like Las Vegas has a ‘Strip’, Johari Bazaar has earned the title of ‘The Strip’ in Jaipur during Diwali.

Amritsar: Although Amritsar is a home of the Golden Temple for Sikhs, Diwali is celebrated here too. The occasion has been incorporated into the Sikh religion and is particularly significant because it also marks the return from prison of the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib, in 1619. A mesmerizing display of fireworks is held over the Golden Temple. The Temple complex is also draped in lights and the lake around the temple is fringed with countless oil lamps and candles, lit by devotees.

Goa: The focus of Diwali celebrations inGoa is on the destruction of demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna. Competitions are held to see who can make the biggest and scariest effigy of the demon. These effigies are then burned at dawn on Narakasura Chaturdashi, the day before the main day of Diwali. 

Mumbai: A city where many big-name Bollywood movies are released in time for Diwali, Mumbai is lit up for Diwali in every sense. You will usually find shops and malls offering plenty of Diwali bargains and Mumbai's markets are best explored during this time. Shopping centers such as Crawford Market and Zaveri Bazaar, where people go to shop for gold and jewelry on the first day of the festival, are a beehive of activity during the Diwali period.

Varanasi: A bustling place at any time of year, it becomes even more so during Diwali with a constant stream of firecrackers and fireworks going off all night long. For the best experience, make sure you stay at one of the riverside hotels in Varanasi, so you have a fabulous view of the fireworks over the Ganges

Diwali is also celebrated by the Indian diaspora in countries as widely separate as Australia, Canada, Fiji, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore and Sri Lanka, as well as in Trinidad & Tobago, UK and the US among others. Here is how Diwali is celebrated in some places outside India.

Australia: With an estimated 100,000 Indians, Diwali is celebrated with fervor and great enthusiasm by the Indian diaspora in Australia. Due to non-availability of the appropriate material for diyas, this country has given in to a touch of modernity to the celebration of the festival of lights with LED lamps.

Britain: The Indians are the second largest ethnic minority in Britain. Diwali here is marked by a visit to the local temple to worship the shrine of Lakshmi, the burning of incense sticks and lighting the home with diyas. Eating and sharing of sweets among friends and family is a major part of the festivities. The festival here is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar hence it falls in the months of October-November. Although the weather is cold, damp and windy at this time of the year, the enthusiasm of leaving small lamps on windowsills or by open doorways never seems to fade.

Indonesia: The country’s link to India is evident in its very name; the name Indonesia came from two Greek words: ‘Indos’ meaning Indian and ‘Nesos’ meaning islands. Although Hindus consist merely two percent of the total population, Diwali is one of the most revered festivals of the locals especially in Bali where it is celebrated with as much fervor as that by their counterparts in India.

Malaysia: The Hindu community of Malaysia constitutes about eight percent of its total population. The Malaysian people call Diwali as Hari Diwali. Celebrated during the seventh month of the Hindu calendar, a tradition of oil bath precedes the festivities. It also includes visits to temples and prayers at household altars. Small lamps made of clay filled with coconut oil and wicks are a common sight to signify the victory of Lord Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, over the demon king Ravana. Diwali is celebrated all over the country except in Sarawak and Federal Territory of Labuan.

Mauritius: This idyllic island in the Indian Ocean, which lies to the east of Madagascar, has a long and cherished link to India. Out of the total Indian diaspora on the island, nearly 80 percent are Hindus, thus Diwali forms one of the most important religious festivals. 

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