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Divali, Festival of Lights

Divali has become a part of the national landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, and is celebrated as the ‘Festival of Lights’. Its main feature is the lighting of rows of clay oil lamps or ‘diyas’ after dusk. Family and friends gather together to share in a Divali feast and to partake of the festivities.  The festival has gone on to become a national holiday, with many cultural and religious events held to celebrate the occasion.

On the days preceding the Festival of Lights, Hindus engage in fasting and abstinence from meat, and offer prayers to the Goddess Lakshmi, who represents material and spiritual wealth. Hindus in Trinidad also use the time for deep cleaning and renovating their homes, purchasing new clothes and maintaining their surroundings. Employees and state officials often dress in East Indian ethnic wear and a variety of performances, featuring aspects of Indian and Hindu culture, are aired at live events and on national television. The highlight of Divali, however, is the lighting of diyas, clay lamps filled with oil, after sunset, a very fascinating experience that should never be missed.

Usually placed on bamboo stalks that are bent into different shapes and designs, diyas are lit by the thousands, on lawns, staircases, roundabouts, in open spaces and yards. After the lighting of diyas, there is a feast of Trinidad Indian food, drink and desserts. Foods like roti, curried mango, curried channa and aloo, sweet rice, and various Indian sweets are some favourites. Hindus consider the Divali festival as important as the Christmas holiday is to Christians. This sacred festival brings about positive feelings in the community and is marked by unity, cleanliness, harmony and festivity. If you are visiting Trinidad during the Divali festival, huge Divali celebrations take place in many of the East Indian and other communities such as:
  • Divali Nagar – Festival of Lights Village
  • Felicity, Chaguanas
  • Temple in the Sea at Waterloo
  • Marabella
  • Skinner Park in San Fernando
  • Aranguez Savannah
  • Curepe Recreational Ground
  • El Socorro
  • President’s House
  • Movie Towne
It will be helpful to have a vehicle to travel to many of these areas where the glittering displays can be seen. Whether you’re visiting or a local, enjoy the beautiful display of culture and religious activities. Happy Divali.

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