Today is a holiday in Fiji and around the world..Diwali…Festival of Lights…

Suddenly, these petit orange flowers appear in these white blooms.

Today is a special day in Fiji for many Fijians, Diwali, the Festival of Lights, celebrated by those of the Hindu religion. Forty percent of the population throughout all of Fiji is Hindu and many of the locals with whom we interact are of the Hindu faith.

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

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 darkest, 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.

Pretty purple flowers on the grounds of the resort.

Diwali is an important festival for Hindus. The name of festive days, as well as the rituals of Diwali, vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras (in Northern & 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 fall 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 Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.”

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

Diwali is a big day of celebration in Fiji.  As we’ve wandered through the village these past months we’ve noticed numerous signs posted about Diwali and special attire in window displays that the local women and men of the Hindu faith may purchase to celebrate this special holiday.

These flowers grow prolifically throughout Fiji.

All the shops in the village are closed today. Most of tonight’s celebrations will occur in private homes with family and friends throughout the islands (and throughout the world), with massive fireworks displays an integral aspect of this special time of observance.

Unfortunately, it’s raining heavily today.  Fireworks may be hard to see throughout the island tonight, but we shall see.  We’ve been told that homemade sweets are the highlight of the celebration. 

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

Ratnesh was heading out to a family celebration on the opposite end of the island and won’t be available to take us to the fireworks festival in the village after dark. Hopefully, depending on the weather we’ll be able to see a few from our veranda after dark.

As we sit here writing now at 8:20 am, we can hear fireworks every few minutes. Surely, it will be much more lively after dark which at this point is around 7:30 pm.

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

Last night at midnight, just about the time I began to doze off, a round of fireworks lit the night sky with loud booms filling the air.  Tom never heard a thing, while deep in sleep.

Speaking of Tom…he’s doing well so far. Part of the swelling in his mouth has receded and we’re hopeful that by Monday when we return to the dentist, he’ll be told he can wait two months until he has this area treated by a periodontist in New Zealand.

Special clothing for men is offered for “Mystical Diwali.”

Rain or shine, we’ll be heading out tomorrow to grocery shop and to possibly go sightseeing, weather providing.  For today, we’re hanging out, hoping that by dark we’ll be able to see the fireworks.

Best wishes to all of our Fijian readers, their families, and friends during this special time of celebration!  And a happy day to everyone else!

Photo from one year ago today, November 11, 2014:

Maalaea Marina near our temporary home in Maui. We’d planned an outing that day but important family matters took precedence. For details, please click here.

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