Indian Festival of Lights celebrated

Happiness, prosperity and forgiveness

Last updated 07:33 14/11/2012

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The green chillies don't have the same burn, and roses stand in for the traditional water lilies, but a Blenheim family still had a great time yesterday during Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights.

The Hindu festival involves feasting and lighting candles and fireworks to symbolise the victory of light over darkness.

Healthcare assistant Sunida Chand said the day was similar to Christmas, in that families gathered together and ate food.

"On the first day we invite our god into the house. We light a candle and it burns for three days. It brings happiness and prosperity into your life.

"It is also about forgiveness. If anyone has annoyed you or offended you, you can get together and forgive each other."

The Chand family emigrated to New Zealand from Fiji in 2007 and have been in Blenheim for three years.

Mrs Chand said it could be hard in Blenheim finding the food they were used to getting in Fiji, especially green vegetables and hot green chillies.

Mrs Chand's son Shiv said the family would forgo meat leading up to and during Diwali, which could be difficult.

"But on the day, we eat a lot of Indian foods like curry, chutney and sweets."

A particular favourite of Mr Chand is ladoo, a ball of sugary, spicy joy.

"That's the best one, the one everyone has to prepare."

The climate made living in Blenheim pleasant but the winters were still very cold, Mr Chand said.

Winery worker Deepak Kumar said the best part of the festival was letting off fireworks.

"We do a lot of them - big ones. We spent $500 on them this year."

The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali meaning " an array of lights" and signifies the the victory of light over darkness.

Diwali also marks the end of the Vikram year, with a new year beginning today.

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- The Marlborough Express


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