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Fiji Time: 2:27 PM on Friday 25 April

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Diwali celebration signifies unity

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, November 10, 2012

FIJI is among 11 countries in the world that commemorate Diwali as one of its public holidays every year.

This was revealed by the Indian High Commission to Fiji Vinod Kumar at the High Commission pre-Diwali celebration at his residence in Tamavua last night.

Mr Kumar said Fiji celebrated Diwali on a large scale compared to India.

"There are many different kinds of lights on a large scale in Fiji than India. For fireworks, India celebrates with firecrackers for four to five days maximum. However, I noticed that Fiji can have fireworks from one to two weeks."

He said this signified unity and a respect for other religions in Fiji.

"Diwali is no longer celebrated by Hindus but by everyone."

He said he noticed that iTaukei people celebrated Diwali more than Fijians of Indian descent.

"Diwali is celebrated in different ways by Indians around the world."

Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

He said while the festival started with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities began their financial year, most Indian farmers harvested their new crops and bought new utensils.

The night was filled with claps and cheers after the Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, lit the diya to commemorate the festival of light for this year.

The event was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, government officials and invited guests.

The official Diwali celebration will be celebrated on November 13.