Day #232 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Dawali coming soon to India and the world…

Practically, overnight, these petit orange flowers appeared in these white blooms.

Today’s photos are from this date while living in Savusavu, Fiji on the island of Vanua Levu during the Hindu Diwali religious celebration. For the story and more photos from this date, please click here.

The Festival of Lights, Diwali, will be celebrated in India on November 14th, a different date each year. With our post about Diwali on today’s date of November 10, 2015, we’ve decided to re-post some of the details of this festive occasion’s celebration for those of the Hindu faith all over the world.

This tree has changed over these past few weeks as this drooping greenery has grown.

As it turned out, we were living in Savusavu, Fiji during Diwali at that time. Many people in Fiji are referred to as Indo-Fijians who may or may not have lived in Fiji all of their lives, but who were born in India or, their ancestors were born in India. Thus, they were known as Indo-Fijians.

Oddly, we discovered that the Indo-Fijians we met while in Fiji, who were born in Fiji had a strong Indian accent, similar to that we are currently observing in India. We surmised with the strong family connections among those of Indian descent, living as a family often after marriage, the Indian accent was easily perpetrated from close contact with parents and grandparents born in India with whom they lived all of their lives.

Pretty purple flowers on the grounds of the resort.

We never observed any racism among native citizens of Fiji regardless of their origins. However, we observed some bias and prejudice between foreigners toward the Fijians of any descent living in Fiji and owning businesses. This was disheartening for us when we so easily fit in with the Fijians who welcomed us with open arms, experiences we had almost daily.

From our warm and delightful housekeepers, the egg lady whom we visited at her home from time to time, to the gardeners, taxi drivers, shop owners, to the farmers at the daily farmer’s market in the village,  Where in the world did we ever get hugged by a meat market owner when stopping weekly for our two roasted chickens, she made especially for us. Helen, a native Fijian couldn’t have made us feel more welcome.

The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
Rangoli decorations, made using colored powder, are popular during Diwali. (Not our photo).

The entire three months we spent in Savusavu, we rarely encountered tourists. When we shopped on Fridays, we stopped at four locations; the Vodacom store for data for our SIM cards; the tiny grocery store; the massive farmer’s market; and, finally, Helen’s meat market for the finest free-range chicken and grass-fed meat on the planet.

As for Dawali on this date in Fiji, five years ago today, we posted the following information, which we share again today in anticipation of the celebration transpiring in India in a mere four days:

These flowers grow prolifically throughout Fiji.

From this website, the following regarding Diwali:

“Diwali (or Deepawali, the “festival of lights”) is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn (northern hemisphere) or spring (southern hemisphere) every year. Diwali is one of the largest and brightest festivals in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of good over evil. The preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the dark, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow,  then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Deepavali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.

That morning’s view of Savusavu Bay when the clouds had cleared for a short period.

Diwali is an important festival for Hindus. The name of festive days as well as the rituals of Diwali varies significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras (in Northern & the Western part of India), followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on the second day, Deepavali on the third day, Diwali Padva dedicated to wife-husband relationship on the fourth day, and festivities end with Bhau-beej dedicated to sister-brother bond on the fifth day. Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra.

On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jains celebrate a festival of lights to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira , Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali remembering Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism.  Diwali is an official holiday in NepalIndia, Sri LankaMauritiusGuyanaTrinidad and TobagoSurinameMalaysiaSingapore, and Fiji.”

Special clothing in this shop window is often purchased for Diwali celebrations.

I’m sure in a few nights, we’ll be able to hear the fireworks and celebrations in the streets of Mumbai, surely making us smile over similar memories during the Festival of Lights in Fiji five years ago today. Although we won’t be out in the streets now, as we weren’t then, preferring not to intrude upon their religious celebrations, we revel in the knowledge of the gentle beliefs of these special people whenever they may be celebrating all over the world.

We can only hope caution will be exercised in wearing face masks as the massive crowds gather in celebration of this annual holiday.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 10, 2019:

The morning view from the backyard of dear friend Karen’s home in Eden Prairie where we stayed while in Minnesota last year. Only a few days later, it snowed. For more photos, please click here.