THIS year's Diwali celebration bears a special significance because it is the first major religious festival to be celebrated under Fiji's new Constitution, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
"This year's Diwali celebrations also bear a special significance. It is the first of Fiji's major religious festivals to be celebrated under our nation's new Constitution, which protects the rights of all Fijians to practice their religion freely and publicly," Commodore Bainimarama said.
He said to him, Diwali had always been about Fiji coming together as one nation to rejoice and give thanks for the glory of God and the bonds of family and friendship.
"It's a time for each of us to shine the light on that which is most important in our lives, which we can all too often lose sight of in the course of our day-to-day responsibilities.
"It's also a time to find fellowship with our neighbours, to reach out to fellow Fijians with acts of kindness and hospitality."
Commodore Bainimarama said Diwali marked the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and happiness over sorrow.
"It's always been a matter of great personal pride on how openly we embrace each other's different religions and how ready we are to include those of different faiths in our observances."
Commodore Bainimarama said such acceptance and understanding was one of the brightest lights in the country's national life, and it was up to the people to protect the spirit of peace and harmony.