first_imgOne would have thought that the Kingdom of Ravana would not celebrate Deepavali/Diwali, but what this festival symbolises is the coming together of various communities and a celebration of diversity in this Indian Ocean island nation.Diwali, among the Tamil Hindus of Lanka, is one of the most celebrated festival. This Festival of Lights’ basically signifies warding off all the shadows of darkness and bringing light into one’s life and one’s home.From being dressed in their fineries to bursting crackers, the Lankan Hindus are no different in celebrating Diwali with a lot of pomp and fervour.Diwali is all about, fire cracker shops abuzz with kids and youngsters buying crackers to burst in the evening. Though the shopkeeper Deva said that he puts up this shop every year but this year rains were a dampener.It is great to see children enjoy the festival. Every year I do great business but it seems like this year because of the rains my sales would go down,” he said.While weather was playing spoiled sport, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the young; who thronged the shop for crackers.In the evening, people of all ages and from across Colombo arrived at Ponnambalawaneswarar Devastanam, an ancient Shiva temple, to offer their prayers. Special prayers were being held.One of the devotees said, Diwali is celebrated not only in Colombo but across Sri Lanka where the Hindu community is present. In fact, our Sinhala friends join us in celebrating this festival.advertisementAn Indian working in Colombo, Navakotti, explained that Diwali in Sri Lanka does not explicitly speak of the victory of Rama over Ravana, but stresses more on the win of good over evil.It is the essence that matters. In India also, Diwali has a different meaning for the people of the North and the South. Similarly, Lankans have their own variation but at the end it symbolizes the victory of good forces over evil force, he said.Women wearing beautiful sarees and dresses offered their prayers and lighting oil lamps at the temple. Amid the sounds of fireworks and the bells of the temple, Diwali festival was celebrated.Another devotee, Mrs. Gangadharan, wore a smile and welcomed the coming year wishing everybody a good year ahead. Every year we go to temples, we wear new sarees. Then they go to our relatives and our friend’s houses. We all do puja. We all pray for a brighter life and a brighter future that is why the symbolism of burning lamps. The victory of good over evil, she said.In Sri Lanka, this festival is mostly celebrated by the Tamil community scattered in different areas of the island, but mostly it is concentrated in the north.Diwali is an official public holiday in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore and Malaysia. Outside of Asia other countries that also mark Diwali as a public holiday are the island nations of Fiji, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago, plus two South American countries, Guyana and Suriname.last_img

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