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Diwali for all Fijians

Margaret Wise
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

THE bang in Diwali celebrations this year serves to remind us all that the event does not belong to any one community.

Driving along the Queens Road this week, travellers were treated to sparkling fireworks and noisy firecrackers at iTaukei villages — from Korovisilou in Serua, Namatakula along the Coral Coast and Korovuto, Nadi.

For most people, Diwali is incomplete without firecrackers. Over the last two nights, as homes were illuminated by coloured lights, the intensity of the noise went up — booming rockets exploded in the skies, unleashing varied displays of light and sound. Added to that were the fireworks that hissed in the darkness before letting off ear splitting bangs.

A celebrant from Rifle Range in Lautoka said the loud pop of the firecrackers were meant to drive away evil spirits.

"The louder the boom the more successful you are in driving away these evil spirits," he said.

Celebrations in Lautoka this year was with much fervour and gaiety but a survey found that people observed it differently as the amount of disposable income determined the lengths families went in observing the occasion.

At Field 40, Sarwan Sami chose to work instead of spending the day at home with loved ones.

The carpenter from Navua did not celebrate one of the most important events in the Hindu calendar.

"I was given this opportunity to work in Lautoka last Friday and I was just so happy to get a job. Life is hard and I have three children to look after. I would have loved to be home for Diwali but this is a sacrifice I have to make," the 36-year-old single parent said.

"My children and I need the money. I am not celebrating Diwali today but I can say I am grateful for today."

Mr Sami said he missed his family but was not depressed because he noticed that some of the neighbours had not splurged on lighting and fireworks, celebrating the event in more subdued ways."I can see some people celebrating on a grand scale. But at the same time there are many homes that are without dazzling lights, only with some diya in the yard," he said.

"I saw a neighbour's little girl, with no fancy clothes on, just running around happily playing with one sparkler."

"It shows there are other people like me who are also struggling but they are celebrating in their own way. It just goes to show that Diwali is for everybody, the rich and the poor, young and the old."

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