FIREWORKS will light up the skies in celebration of Diwali, or the “festival of lights”, at the FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival, taking place at the newly renovated Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on Saturday, 15 October. Colourful Indian dances, stage shows and vegetarian dishes will be among the attractions on the day. A major Hindu festival, Diwali symbolises the victory of good over evil and is a time of celebration and hope for the humankind. It is also the Hindu new year.
The theme of this year’s FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival is “Light up the world.” Jayesperi Moopen, the festival director, said Diwali was a time for family and prayers.
“The idea is to bring people closer to each other by sharing and understanding each other through festivals of this nature, religious or otherwise.”
She said organisers would take advantage of the extra space that was created through the renovation of Mary Fitzgerald Square to stage more activities.
The square was recently renovated by the Johannesburg Development Agency to improve its usability for daily use by the public and for larger outdoor events. The revamp means that visitors to this year’s Diwali celebration will have plenty space for relaxation.
Endorsed by the City, the festival is hosted by the South African Hindu Maha Sabha and is sponsored by First National Bank (FNB). There will be dramatic shows by performance groups who will entertain guests with a range of traditional Indian dancing and singing.
“Other popular entertainment will be balloon sculptors, stilt walkers, a clay lamp and sari tying competition,” said Moopen. There will also be a variety of food and retail stalls. Diwali centres on the story of Lord Rama, who was said to have defeated the demon king Ravana, who had captured his wife, Sita. His people lit candles to welcome him home after the battle.
Candles and lamps are a major part of the festivities because of the belief that homes which are brightly lit will be visited by the Hindu goddess of good luck. People celebrate the holiday by setting off firecrackers, lighting up their homes with candles and lamps, and eating delicious food.