Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is much celebrated in Fiji, a land where around half of the population is of Indian descent. In fact, Diwali is a national holiday here, and even non-Hindus often celebrate it.
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In India, Diwali is celebrated differently in different parts of the country, and people in Fiji hail from various states of India. But the celebrations here have been blended into one, with a South Pacific twist.
Homes and businesses are lit up at night, fireworks fill the sky, people feast profusely on traditional dishes and sweets, and many exchange gifts. In the days leading up to Diwali, some meticulously fast from meats, and in Hindu homes, “puja” ritual prayers are made to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity.
Many also go out shopping for new clothes, electronic gadgets, or anything else with an aura of “newness” to it.
Diwali is a very festive time in Fiji, and it’s one of the most prominent holidays of the year.