Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Jamaicans experience Diwali

Published:Wednesday | November 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Athena Gregg quenches the thirst of her adorable puppy Zria with an ice cube at the Diwali Mela fair at Devon House in St Andrew on Sunday. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

The east lawn of Devon House was abuzz with activity Sunday as the Indian community in Jamaica celebrated the annual Diwali (Feast of Light).

With the festival being opened up to the general public for the first time, many Jamaicans from outside the Indian community were treated to a new experience.

Whether with the cuisine, apparel, jewellery or music, the organisers pulled out all the stops to ensure there was something to enthral even the least curious passer-by.

Indians all over observe the festival, between October and November each year as a means of commemorating the start of the Indian New Year.

Important festival

"Diwali is the most important festival celebration, which is celebrated on the darkest night of the year," said Ravi Rambarran, director of Premasatsangh of Jamaica, an umbrella group of Indian associations in Jamaica.

"It is a time when Indians all over light up their homes as a means of signifying the triumph of light over darkness or good over evil."

Rambarran, saying he was delighted with the turnout, added: "We realise that Indian customs are becoming more and more acceptable and so we decided that this year we would open it up to the public."

While the festival itself did not hold much significance to most Jamaicans who turned up, many saw it as a learning experience.

"It opens my eyes more to certain aspects of the Indian culture, as I had no idea the culture was so diverse," noted Leslie Baxter.

However, for Vaughn Moore, the experience was something else.

"The women are fabulous. I enjoy watching them dance. The food is also tempting and is a must-have before I leave," Moore said.