Diwali the festival of joyous lights observed by Guyanese
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, October 19, 2017
Guyanese lined the route along Sandy Babb Street and the Seawall road to the La Bonne Intention (LBI) Community Centre Ground, East Coast Demerara, to view the Diwali motorcade on Wednesday night.
The Department of Public Information (DPI) was fortunate enough to speak to President of Hindu Dharmic, Dr. Vindhya Persaud as the dazzling kaleidoscopic of floats passed along its traditional routes.
Dr. Vindhya Persaud, one of the event organisers spoke of the “incredible energy” that the motorcade brings to the festival. “As a Hindu observing Diwali, I feel a sense of pride that the Guyana Hindu Dharmic has been able to sustain 42 years of the Deepavali motorcade,” Dr. Persaud said.
“I love the promotion of motorcades because it brings all of life together to this wonderful atmosphere. It fosters respect, love and unity,” she added.
This year makes it the eighth countrywide, Deepavali motorcade celebration.
Meanwhile, rows upon rows of diyas and fairy lights adorned many houses as Guyanese decorated their homes in observance of the festival.
DPI visited Alexander Village and spoke to a member of the Vishnu Mandir, Kevin Paltoo. He explained that the day’s observances for them began with an early morning service, followed by food preparations and the lighting of diyas in the evening. He added that preparation however began several days earlier.
“During the week, we started with the rolling of the cotton wicks and washing the diyas and setting it out on the table.” Paltoo said.
Outside of the mandir several members carefully arranged the lit diyas on the parapet. “I think it’s about 1400 diyas,” Paltoo posited.
Despite hurdles faced over the past months, Alexander Village resident, Anil Henry said his family worked as a team to display 200 diyas, somewhat less than the previous year.
“Last year was a bit more, but this year things a little up and down so whatever we can do, we still do to keep the festival alive. Today is actually the day we do it, but tomorrow we are going to light just a few not as much,” Henry explained.
First Street resident, Omesh Danram related that his family opted to decorate the home with both the traditional diyas and fairy lights. He also shared his routine for the day.
“We just have to wash them (diyas) prepare them and fill them with oil, then roll up the cotton wools. Basically, it’s an early morning start; you get to cook the seven curry, the sweet meats, all the sweet rice and so. It’s not a lot of stress.”
The festival was also acknowledged by members of other faiths. Delon Moffett of South Ruimveldt explained it was his first time participating in the festival and disclosed he would usually stay indoors, since he disliked the fireworks which has become a feature in recent years.
“I came to support my friends and light a few diyas and get the blessings…I would like to tell everyone that festivities like this are good for bringing everyone together. It’s a good tool for social cohesion and people should embrace all the religious holidays and come out and celebrate and have fun with your brothers from different religions,” Moffett underscored.
Diwali, the festival of light adds to the distinctive cultural tapestry that is uniquely Guyanese. It is one of the most significant events in the Indian culture, is a five-day festival of lights traditionally observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. However, in the Guyanese society the holiday is also celebrated by citizens of other cultures and faiths.
By: Crystal Stoll