The Festival of Lights, Diwali is a celebration that marks the victory of good over evil, light over dark and knowledge over ignorance. Widely celebrated by Hindus across the world, festivities include the lighting of oil lamps on the day that signifies the return of Lord Ram after 14 years in exile as detailed in the epic, Ramayana. Exchanging gifts, feasting on traditional sweets and wearing new clothes are other Diwali traditions. A time for both gratitude and gaiety, here’s how Diwali is celebrated around the world.
Known as Deepavali, the day is a public holiday in Singapore. With a significant Hindu population, the fervour in Little India is akin to that in any city in India, if not more! The streets are transformed by colourful flowers, buntings and lights. Storefronts are decorated in hues of red and gold and the wafting aroma of flowers and incense fills the air. People are dressed in their fineries as prayers are held to thank the divine.
Make it a holiday: Singapore makes for a fun holiday destination for the entire family. With multiple flights from cities across India, visit Singapore and see its famous sights like Sentosa Island, Clarke Quay, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Zoo.
Mauritius has a large number of Hindus who along with non-Hindus celebrate the joyous festival of Diwali. The festivities span almost a week and Diwali day is a declared public holiday on this multi-cultural island. Celebrations are about family, friends, feasting and fun. Fireworks add to the spirit of it all!
Make it a holiday: A honeymooner’s paradise, Mauritius is truly magical with its white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. With daily flights from India to this island nation, Mauritius offers nature’s best be it at Port Louis, Chamarel or Grand-Baie.
While Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, it is a very multi-religious society and Diwali is a public holiday here. Like Singapore, the Little India area in the capital city Kuala Lumpur is where all the celebrations are at outside of the homes of Hindus. Friends and family get together to pray and offer gratitude for the blessing of the year past and the year to come. In celebration of Diwali, many Indian restaurants in Kuala Lumpur offer special menus featuring traditional Indian snacks and sweets. Enjoy!
Make it a holiday: A cultural melting pot, Malaysia has something for every kind of holiday goer. Be it the buzzing city of Kuala Lumpur or the laid back beaches of Langkawi or the historical districts in Penang, with regular flights from India, Malaysia is an easy destination to get to.
Asians rank amongst one of the largest immigrant groups in USA of which, Indians are a substantial number. Most cities have a sizeable Indian community and Diwali is a holiday celebrated with much enthusiasm. Be it in New Jersey, Illinois, Texas or California, temples across cities usually host a Diwali night that sees priests performing customary prayers followed by a vegetarian communal dinner. Bigger cities also hold a Diwali parade in some parts! Like elsewhere in the world, friends and family visit each other’s homes and exchange gifts as part of the Diwali celebrations.
Make it a holiday: USA may be half way across the world from India but it’s closer than you think. With direct flights and via flights with stopovers in cities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, a holiday on the East or West Coast of USA makes for a ton of unique memories.
With a large Indian population in Australia, cities like Sydney and Melbourne see Diwali celebrated within several pockets of the community. Most notably, Diwali at Federation Square in Melbourne has grown to become the largest celebration in Australia. Marked with a grand display of fireworks, live entertainment like traditional dances of India and art and cultural shows, Diwali is enjoyed by one and all!
Make it a holiday: Australia, the land down under showcases many marvels starting with the Great Barrier Reef. From beaches and tropical rain forests to deserts and mountains, the landscape is breathtaking no matter where you are. Take advantage of multiple flights from India to Australia and make the most of your Diwali holiday!
So where are you heading this Diwali?