Diwali: The festival of lights

4th November 2021

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

The 4th of November marks the occasion of Diwali in the Hindu calendar this year. Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, brings people together countrywide, regardless of religion or social class. The atmosphere surrounding the festival is lively, and joy is shared with all who want to take part. You will see homes brightening up the streets and fireworks filling the skies as an expression of joy and respect to the Gods for the blessings they bring. This festival of light symbolises the victory of light over darkness and takes place over five days. Each of the five days has different preparations, activities and rituals associated with it in India.

According to Indian Infusion South Africa, Diwali has many different meanings depending on the region of India. Ramayana (one of the holy texts of Hinduism) states that this festival commemorates the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya after defeating the Ravana. It is believed that the people of Ayodhya lit lamps and exploded fireworks to celebrate their return and triumph. This festival also serves as gratitude to the Goddess Lakshmi, that brings wealth and happiness to all who worship her. In eastern India, the celebrations during this period serve as a reminder to celebrate the triumph of knowledge over ignorance. Goddess Kali is also acknowledged in some regions as a powerful deity that has the power of the destruction of Wicked.

South Africa is a rainbow nation filled with people who practise different religions and have various cultures. Keeping heritage alive plays a pivotal role in upholding diversity and social cohesion. These cultures are our human treasures and carry a wealth of history and knowledge that add to our diverse living heritage. Learning about each other will only help us grow as a nation, contributing to a more unified country.

We wish all our clients, colleagues and friends a joyous Diwali that brings happiness and positivity.