So Diwali is here and for the cultural enthusiasts, no festival could be more extravagant when it comes to celebrations. Most travelers have a bug for exploring new cultures. This Diwali, let’s take you away from India for a slightly different experience of the occasion.
Even though Malaysia shelters only about 8% Indians, yet this festival is celebrated throughout the country with much pomp and show. In Malaysia, Diwali is known as ‘Hari Diwali’ wherein people follow the South Indian tradition of oil bath preceding the final prayers.
Being the only Hindu Kingdom of the world, Nepal celebrates Diwali as ‘Tihar’. Tihar lasts for five days. The first day is dedicated to cows, second to dogs, third to the magnificent celebrations with lights and crackers, fourth to Yama or the God of Death and the fifth day is dedicated to brothers when the Nepalese celebrate Bhaiya Dooj.
Indonesia celebrates Diwali in more or less the Indian way. The glory of the occasion is most evident in the island of Bali. Bali comprises of a large portion of the Hindu population which is why the island has a festive feel to it during Diwali.
Guyana is located on the northeast coast of South America. This is a nation abundant in Hindu population with them constituting 33% of its total. The tradition of celebrating Diwali was brought into Guyana in 1853 by Indians migrating there. Diwali is celebrated as per the Hindu solar calendar. There is also a national holiday on this occasion.
With its own version of ‘Ramayana’, Mauritius celebrates Diwali in a widespread manner. This occasion also marks Krishna’s destruction of the demon Narakasuran according to the Mauritian belief. With 63% of its population being Indian and 80% of them belonging to Hinduism, Mauritius enjoys the festivities of Diwali in the same manner as Indians do.
Sri Lanka shares India’s history with the epic ‘Ramayana. For this reason, Diwali holds a very important place when it comes to festivals in the country. People celebrate this occasion by visiting each other’s houses and enjoying large and delicious meals. The traditional celebrations are somewhat lacking in the region.
Diwali celebrations in Japan are different from that of India. People go out to their orchards and hang lanterns and other paper-made hangings on the trees. Flying lanterns can be seen all over the sky during this festival. The night is spend with songs and dances going around. Boating is another activity taken up as a part of the celebration.
In Thailand, Diwali is celebrated as ‘Lam Kriyongh’. The celebrations are peaceful. People make diyas out of banana leaves and place candles in them. These are set afloat on the river together by the community. People greet each other and have meals together.
Singapore too has a large Hindu population. There are 18 Hindu temples in the country. The region also has a ‘little India’ where the Indian community gathers to celebrate Diwali without crackers. They have sparkles instead and the occasion is filled with joy.
Let this Diwali be celebrated with a twist of culture from all parts of the world; a perfect reason to escape the usual feast in India and explore a new way of Diwali celebrations in foreign lands.