A number of flamboyant Hindu festivals are organized by Fijian-Indian community throughout the year. Due to Fiji’s large Indian population, the Diwali festival is one of the main events held on the islands. It is a time-honored Indian cultural festival, that conveys a universal message of hope and peace that transcends all borders and faiths. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together and to celebrate our diversity. A significant number of Hindus residing in Fiji celebrate the festival with traditional rituals.
Everyone is in a mood for celebration therefore Diwali festival attracts a large number of non-Hindu population in the fun and festivities related to the festival of Diwali. The excitement for Diwali in Fiji is enhanced further due to the fact that Diwali is a public holiday in Fiji.
Like their Indian counterparts, people of Fiji celebrate Diwali with elaborate lighting and candle decorations. This ritual of lighting lamps dates back to the period when lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile and after vanquishing demon Ravana. His people welcomed him by lighting earthen lamps (diya).
This beautiful festival is also a day for celebrating the bond of love shared by brother and sister since the fifth day of celebration is Bhai Dooj. During the celebration all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets with family members and friends. Besides, Diwali gives an opportunity to people who belong to different faith and communities to gather together and live in a spirit of communal harmony.
In Fiji, several schools organize Diwali celebrations in order to guide the children about the social, cultural and religious significance of Diwali. In many schools Diwali celebrations are carried on by organising speech recital, extempore, singing, essay writing, rangoli making and greeting card competitions. Everyone is dressed in traditional Indian attire and compulsory language for the day is Hindi. Traditional Lakshmi Pooja is also arranged in several schools. Such occasions are a great time to bring the children closer to their roots, hence promoting a feeling of brotherhood. Moreover, they also act as a catalyst for the social and cultural development of the Indo-Fiji community despite its multicultural society.