THE Prime Minister in his Divali message said the covid19 pandemic has altered the way we celebrate the special occasion this year but will not undo the importance of the religious festival in TT. As Dr Rowley brought greetings to the Hindu community, he urged everyone celebrating to follow health protocols against the pandemic.
“Every year, Divali celebrations, with its festival of lights, signal to us all the need for a deep, internal renewal of the spirit and a new beginning.”
He said regardless of our beliefs, Divali leads us to pause to introspect and reflect on the anxieties, fears, hatred, anger and ignorance lurking within us, but then go beyond.
“It can take us back to the path in which we search for deeper spiritual awareness and renewal which is fundamental to life’s journey.”
Divali may lead us to sense the presence of God and the light within us which radiates outward through our positive thoughts, deeds and actions.
“The members of the Hindu community see this time as an expression of the inner certainty of their faith in which they try to reach their higher selves, which is expressed also in the form of sharing of food and sweets with their families, friends and the needy.”
While Divali was once celebrated only by Hindus, today it is a proud expression of our society that this festival of lights has been embraced as a national celebration.
“Across the country, people of different religious traditions and ethnicities have been lighting their homes as part of this celebration, displaying, at its best our religious tolerance for each other, and the strength and beauty that is in the diversity of our people and our country.”
Yet he noted that this year the pandemic has mandated the practice of physical distancing as the norm among us.
“However, we are a creative people. Our celebrations will not disappear. Our nation has had challenges before, and we will continue to confront obstacles responsibly along the way, but the inner light that we possess as a people will always allow us to overcome them.
“Let us all, in this very unusual and unprecedented period, celebrate the spirit of Divali, yet observing all the health protocols that are in force, such as the wearing of masks, in limited gatherings.”
Rowley urged the nation to treat this day of joy, unity, harmony, and festivity as sacred, while obeying the public health regulations towards TT ultimately overcoming covid19.
“Let us all come together to illuminate in oneness of mind and shine our inner lights collectively into the darkest recesses of our nation.
“We each have a light. Let us all ensure that this personal glow of our inner light helps us to create a brighter and better TT. Happy Divali.”