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Opera House lights up for Diwali

The white sails of the Sydney Opera House lit up in gold this month to mark Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Diwali celebrates good overcoming evil and light over darkness. Traditionally falling on the darkest new moon night in the Hindu lunar month of Kartika, Hindu families mark Diwali by putting on their best clothes, exchanging gifts and lighting up diyas (lamps) inside and outside their homes. 

The night of Diwali is also significant for Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists.  Dr Raja Jayaraman, of the Hindu Council of Australia, said the spirit of Diwali is something everyone can relate to.

“It’s a family affair and it’s the idea of extending the notion of family to the whole nation. It’s got a social and cultural extension. Diwali also celebrates diversity and unity and it may be significant for Hindus but nobody is excluded. Everyone is invited to participate and join in the celebration both in India and in Australia.” 

At the last Census in 2011, the most common non-Christian religions in Australia were Buddhism, Islam (2.2 per cent) and Hinduism (1.3 per cent). Of these, Hinduism had experienced the fastest growth since 2006, increasing from 148,130 to 275,534. There were more than 200,000 people with Indian or South Asian heritage in New South Wales.

 “One thing we need to understand is that Hinduism and its festivals are practiced differently in different parts in India. However, they all have a commonality, it’s a celebration of goodness in the world a celebration of good over and evil and everyone believes in that and can relate to this idea,” Dr Jayaraman said.

Diwali is also a time of charity and peace. India Today has reported on Indian and Pakistani troops exchanging gifts of traditional sweets across the disputed international border to mark the occasion.  

This year Hindus in Australia and around the world took to Twitter to share all the Diwali preparations, making the hash tag ‘Diwali celebration’ trend worldwide. 

The Point

The Sydney Opera House’s sails lit up in golden for a second time this month on the 12th to mark Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which celebrates good overcoming evil and light over darkness.

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