PRESIDENT Paula-Mae Weekes in her Divali message urged each home to “light a symbolic deya” to express the nation’s hopes for betterment against the covid19 pandemic, as Hindus and their friends on Saturday celebrate the festival of lights.
“After weeks of fasting and preparation, believers will joyously welcome the arrival of Mother Lakshmi into their homes and receive her blessings of wealth and prosperity.
“Lakshmi puja will be performed and deyas lit to celebrate the third and most important day of the five-day Divali festival, commemorating the victorious return of Lord Rama and Mother Sita to Ajodhya after fourteen years of exile.” Sweets and traditional foods will be given to family and friends and gifts will be exchanged, she said.
Weekes said while this year's covid19 restrictions have curtailed many popular traditions in the lead-up to Divali, Hindus have found inventive and engaging ways to keep alive the spirit of this sacred season.
“Ramleela, usually staged over the course of ten days, was condensed into one event, with spectators looking on from the safety of their vehicles, while the Divali Nagar, a highly-anticipated exposition of Indo-Trinbagonian religion, culture and history, was presented on an entirely virtual platform.”
She said the essential message of Divali was a triumphal one - a celebration of good overcoming evil plus light extinguishing the darkness.
Despite the dislocation caused by the pandemic, she said the inspirational message of Divali remains undiluted, unwavering and relevant.
Weekes said even as Hindus adjust their mode of celebration, they have remained steadfast in devotion and commitment to the values of this auspicious period.
“The essence of Divali is universal and in the normal course of things, non-Hindus join unrestrainedly in the celebration of Divali, visiting their Hindu friends, enjoying fellowship and creating their own mini-displays of deyas.
“All of this will be much scaled down for this year, but I encourage every household to light a symbolic deya to represent the light that awaits us at the end of this covid19 tunnel.
“I extend to the Hindu community and all citizens of TT, warmest wishes for a safe, healthy and peaceful Divali.”