Diwali: A celebration of togetherness, hope, and memories

Families across Guyana celebrated Diwali in grand style, lighting diyas, displaying fireworks, creating colorful rangolis, sharing sweetmeats, and just enjoying each other’s company.

Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights represents the triumph of knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness, and good over evil. It symbolises the removal of doubt and negativity from our lives. 

The Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke to residents in Alexander Village, Eccles, and along the West Bank and West Coast Demerara who shared their views on the celebration.

Sandra Sukhu of Alexander Village, who was arranging diyas with her grandchildren, expressed, “I would like to wish all my fellow Guyanese a very happy Diwali. Diwali is a festival of light and good over evil. It is a time for everybody to come together to enjoy themselves and be on the safe side.”

She said her family goes to great lengths to prepare for Diwali, making diyas, various sweetmeats, and seven-curry.

Nadina Ramlochan

“Even though it is hard work, it is very enjoyable and worthwhile,” Sukhu shared.

Annmarie Verway also of Alexander Village said, “Growing up in Alexander Village, Diwali was always a blast for us…We still try to enjoy it as best as we can.”

Rovina Kissoon highlighted that, “You don’t have a be a Hindu or an Indian person to celebrate Diwali. It is all about one love…I do this to make my kids happy.”

Rohan Nauth of Eccles explained that Diwali is like “getting together and creating a memorable time” with family and friends.  

“In preparation, of course, we fast. On Diwali day, we light diyas which signifies the entering of the divine into our lives,” Nauth further expressed.  

Proprietor of D Sankar and Son Meat Centre in Goed Fortuin, Devanand Sankar said that Diwali signifies togetherness for his family, “because being with the family is good as we are business people. This is one of the two holidays that I celebrate.”

Vinesha Deonarine of Plantain Walk, West Bank Demerara, expressed that the holiday is extremely special to her family. 

The young woman added, “Generally, it just brings all of us together every year especially when we are decorating the house and making rangolis. We were able to make sweetmeats. We can share with people around the village.”

Ashley Persaud of M. Persaud Supermarket, New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop highlighted that her family and friends are invited over at her house and they share delectable sweets and seven-curry dishes.  

“This is where we celebrate all the darkness with light in our lives. We also celebrate by preparing various sweetmeats.”

Mahadai Lalu and some members of her family at their Campbellville home

Meanwhile, residents along the East Coast corridor were also having a blast as they adorned their yards, houses, and walkways with diyas and rangolis to mark the occasion.

Mahadai Lalu noted, “Cleanliness is godliness and every Diwali time, we clean our place. We don’t clean our place just because we like to clean our place, we clean to welcome the goddess, because our foreparents told us that if we don’t clean our place she will not come, and we want her and her blessings.”

He said his family enjoys making rangolis and sweetmeats which are distributed to friends and loved ones. 

Farzana McDoom celebrates Diwali with her family

Ricky Singh said for him, celebrating Diwali is spending quality time with family, “It’s the festival of lights as we all know. It’s celebrated with diyas which you know is a festive season for Mother Latchmi. It brings lots of joy to the family and friends, so I would like to extend Shubh Diwali to the whole nation.” 

Farzana McDoom, told DPI, she did not get to celebrate the festival in five years, “as you can see for us, it’s all about family, sharing all the joy, love, laughter and beautiful lights, that’s what we love most about it, it feels amazing. I have missed it so much.”

Geeta Singh with her family celebrate Diwali 2023

Geeta Singh said her children are fascinated with everything relating to celebrating Diwali, “My daughter has special needs, so basically, I would do this to get her to enjoy herself…because she has fun with the lights and sparkles. It takes some time lighting your diyas, putting your fairy lights up and making your sweetmeats.” 

Mahadeo Rampadarat and his family celebrate Diwali 2023

Meanwhile, Mahadeo Rampadarat highlighted, “You have to go with the tradition, you can’t change from that, it’s not a show, it’s religion and this day here is a very auspicious day for Mother Latchmi, very, very auspicious.”  “I feel very special and full of energy, my favourite thing to do is colouring the rice for the rangoli. Happy Diwali Everyone,” Saharia Yamin expressed.

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