Diwali is celebrated in India with a lot of grandeur and fanfare. Similarly, Diwali is also observed by the Indian Diasporas residing in various parts of the world with immense zeal and enthusiasm. In countries apart from India, Diwali celebrations are a showcase of the rich cultural tradition of the Hindus. Diwali Melas are an important part of the Diwali celebrations abroad apart from lighting diyas and making colorful rangolis. Diwali Melas provide the platform for the Hindu communities to gather and celebrate Diwali together like a family. The Diwali Melas have a variety of entertainment options, such as plays and acts about the legends of Diwali, food stalls of ethnic Indian delicacies and display of fireworks, and so on. Let’s have a look at the celebrations of Diwali in different countries across the globe.
Diwali Celebrations in Different Parts of the World
Diwali Celebrations in Nepal
Diwali is celebrated as ‘Tihar’ or ‘Swant’ in Nepal, known as the world’s lone Hindu Kingdom. Diwali celebrations in Nepal span over a period of days, with the worshipping of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha, but the traditions here vary from those in India. The first day is ‘Kaag Tihar’ wherein cows are given offerings. The second day is ‘Kukur Tihar’ and dogs are worshipped for their honesty. On the third day, Lakshmi Puja is performed and cows are worshipped. It is considered to be the last day of the year; hence, businessmen clear the accounts for the year and worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The fourth day is celebrated as the New Year. The Diwali celebrations come to an end on the fifth day with ‘Bhai Tika’, a celebration of the undying love between brothers and sisters.
Diwali Celebrations in Malaysia
In Malaysia, Diwali is celebrated as ‘Hari Deepavali’. Interestingly, traditions here are quite similar to India. Diwali is celebrated during the seventh month of the Hindu solar calendar and is a central public holiday all across Malaysia. During Diwali, a practice of organizing ‘open houses’ is followed where the Hindu Malaysians invite fellow Malaysians from across varied religions and races to their homes for a delicious meal. Diwali celebrations start with the customary oil bath, prevalent in the southern states of India. People go to the temples and light up diyas in the evening to celebrate the day of Lord Rama’s return after 14 years of exile.
Diwali in Singapore
The majority of the Hindu population in Singapore is Tamil, and hence, Diwali is commonly known as ‘Deepavali’ just like in South Indian states. During Deepavali, the Hindu Endowment Board of Singapore organizes a variety of events in collaboration with the Singapore government. Little India is a place that buzzes up with activities and is all dazzled up during the festival. The houses and roads are all decked up with colorful lights along with performing the traditional puja of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.
Diwali Celebrations in Britain
Diwali is celebrated in Britain with the same zeal and fervor as in India. Diwali, which is celebrated according to the Hindu solar calendar, falls in the month of October/November, is very damp, cold and windy in Britain. However, the weather does not deter the spirit of the people which is evident from lit diyas all across homes. People exchange sweets and gifts, and some even mail gifts to their families back in India. Diwali celebrations in Leicester are considered to be the most magnificent Diwali festivities away from India.
Diwali Celebrations in the United States of America
Diwali celebrations in the United States are gaining more prominence with every passing year. With the increasing Indian population, Diwali celebrations are almost like that in India, with the houses festooned with colorful rangolis and diyas. The Diwali Mela held in Cowboy Stadium in 2009 was quite popular among the Indians and locals with as many as 100,000 people attending it.
Diwali Celebrations in Australia
Diwali is celebrated with great splendor and grandeur in the island nation of Australia, where almost 100,000 Indians are settled, with majority of them being Hindus. Diwali is celebrated traditionally with the lighting of diyas and making rangolis. Diwali celebrations in Australia are associated with a magnificent display of fireworks, where people from all walks of life come and join the festivities.
Diwali Celebrations in Mauritius
Mauritius is a beautiful island nation with 63% Indian population, among which 80% follows the Hinduism religion. Therefore, in Mauritius, Diwali celebrations are a common phenomenon. This festival is observed to commemorate the homecoming of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile. The houses are decorated with rows of diyas and rangolis, delicacies cooked and exchanged as gifts during this joyous occasion.
Diwali Celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago
Diwali in Trinidad and Tobago is an assimilation of all the communities, who get together and celebrate the ‘Festival of Lights’. With 43% of the population belonging to the ethnic Indian community, the most prominent of all Diwali celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago is held in ‘Diwali Nagar’, the headquarters of the National Council of Indian Culture. The festivities in Diwali Nagar include folk theatres displaying various legends and traditions of Diwali, classical performances by Indian artists and food stalls providing various Indian delicacies and Diwali sweets. The evenings are marked by the traditional lighting of diyas and performing Lakshmi puja. The gala celebrations end with a dazzling display of fireworks.