Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that's also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities.
Why a Festival of Lights?
The legends behind the Diwali festival are many. One of them celebrates the return of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. She does her annual round and chooses the dwelling she finds the most attractive.
Diwali is the festival of lights, fireworks and traditional sharing of sweets. After the prayers to Goddess Lakshmi the women start preparing delicacies, sweets and savories that are specially made for the family, neighbours and friends. The list of Diwali special sweets is exhaustive. Gulab Jamun, Gajar Ka Halwa, Besan Ke Ladoo, Karanji and Jalebis are the most commonly made sweets on this occasion. By tradition, there should be at least 7 types in the dough.
In today’s world where everyone is busy, the celebration of Diwali has its own importance in continuing to maintain the love between brothers and sisters, colleagues, neighbours and relatives. It is the day of food-sharing; gift-giving and reaching out to the inner most depths of the hearts.
Earthen oil lamps named diyas are lit and placed in front of every home to dispel darkness and to welcome Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity which will bring joy, happiness and prosperity in the house for the coming year.
How to celebrate Diwali in Mauritius
During five days various gods and goddesses are worshipped and celebrated with great fervour. In particular the goddess Laskhmi and Lord Ganesh who represent wealth, good luck and enlightenment. Each day of the festival has its own celebration with its own story and legends.
Diwali in Mauritius will see the island transformed into a fairyland. Houses, gardens and buildings are adorned with clay lamps, candles and electric lights. The night sparkles with fireworks to ward off evil spirits.
On this day all Mauritians, regardless of their religion, wish each other HAPPY DIWALI!