Shubh Divali! Despite the fact that the Holiday has passed I just had to say Happy Divali. I've been in Trinidad for 3 years but Saturday was the first time that I was able to see the lights. I loved having the chance to experience that aspect of the Hindu culture. Divali or Festival of Lights is the brightest of Hindu festivals, the word Divali means row of lights. On porches, stair cases, walls, on practically any horizontal surface diyas are lit, by the thousands.
On Saturday night we went to see the lights, so did alot of others. The traffic getting to that brightly lit stretch of road was horrendous but it was definitely worth it! We hopped out of the vehicle at the top and had a nice time walking along the road. Fairy lights were wound around poles, lots of people were out in traditional East Indian outfits, music danced though the air, fireworks shot up into the air, sparklers erupted like shooting stars, loud bombs went off all around, bags of homemade sweets were handed out and best of all the diyas with their white cotton wicks were lit and re-lit by the thousands.
My favorite legend behind the Diwali celebrations is about the prince of Ayodhya Nagri - Lord Shri Ram. Here's a condensed version from my understanding of the story. Ravan, the king of Lanka, kidnaps Lord Ram's wife, Sita. Lord Ram attacks Lanka, kills Ravan and rescues Sita. He then returns to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshamana after being in self imposed exile for fourteen years. The people of Ayodhya welcomed Ram by illuminating the capital with tiny diyas. Ram is considered the symbol of good and Ravan represents evil. Diwali is considered the festival, which establishes the victory of good over the evil.
If you have the chance to see the lights next Divali, go for it!