In Guyana, Diwali is a grand celebration.
The much-anticipated motorcade in several parts of the country are perhaps the most distinctive part of the festivities organised to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights. But there’s also the rangoli activities where colourful, creative designs are made out of rice and flour
These all come before Diwali itself, where prayers are offered and small earthen lamps and fairy lights decorate houses, other buildings and yards.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that restricted many of the celebrations, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) conceptualised and presented a new activity: Deep Jale.
It literally means “to light the light” which is perhaps the best to explain what it means because it signals the start of the Diwali festivities.
On Saturday, Deep Jale was held at the Kitty seawall roundabout in Georgetown. It was no hindrance to the free flow of traffic yet that section of the seawall was filled with scores of people eager to witness the cultural performances.
They saw classical and contemporary dances, a unique dance-enactment of the Ramayana (the story of Lord Ram, viewed as one of the reasons for Diwali) and musical performances.
GHDS’ President Dr. Vindhya Persaud explained that the Deep Jale event is one that increasingly infuses youthful energy. In fact, this year’s production was undertaken by the Sabha’s youth arm- the Dharmic Naujawaan.
And so, she expressed her hope that the togetherness the event fostered at the Kitty roundabout could be maintained throughout the entire Diwali period and really, throughout the year. For her, celebrations like these are a reminder of the strength in Guyana’s diversity.
“Let us together always have this kind of feeling permeate the air and the atmosphere long after Diwali passed,” Dr. Persaud said.