EVEN though we are unable to celebrate Diwali 2021 in the same spectacular and large-scale manner that we did before, the lessons of the “Festival of Lights” is perhaps most resounding this time around.
Diwali meaning “a row of lights,” is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartik, known to be the darkest night of the year. It honours and adores Goddess Lakshmi, who is considered to be the giver of health, wealth and prosperity.
Diwali is celebrated during a five-day period, with the first day being referred to as Dhanteras or the “day of fortune”; the second day is Naraka Chaturdasi, the ‘day of knowledge’, followed by the third, which is known to be the day of light. The fourth day is known as Annakut which ushers in the New Year and fifth day Bhai Dui, which brings a renewed love between brothers and sisters.
The story of Diwali also speaks to the return of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile. Upon his return, he was welcomed with lit diyas that decorated his pathway home.
Yesterday, as thousands of our Hindu brothers and sisters illuminated their homes and places of worship, we were not only reminded of the aforementioned significances, but we were also reminded that there is light at the end of every dark tunnel.
As we continue to brave a global pandemic and face our own personal battles, we are reminded that positivity trumps negativity; that knowledge overpowers ignorance and that in everything we do, our home must outshine our feeling of despair.
Although a Hindu religious holiday, Diwali remains a treasured part of Guyana’s religious and cultural heritage, and is celebrated heartily by Guyanese from all walks of life. As depicted in these Delano Williams’ photos, yesterday’s celebrations were no different.