This Diwali is special: Fiji PM to Indian community

A significant number of Fiji-Indians celebrate Ramlila and Diwali with traditional rituals, and they are part of the main events held on the islands.

Suva: Wishing the Indian community in Fiji on Diwali, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said that this year’s celebration is special as the world has won over the Covid pandemic.

“I thank God we live in a country where we can so openly share in the celebrations of all our fellow Fijians… Fijians of all backgrounds have been draped in colourful sarees, salwar kameez and kurtas and workplaces have been decorated,” Bainimarama said in a video message posted on Twitter.

A significant number of Fiji-Indians celebrate Ramlila and Diwali with traditional rituals, and they are part of the main events held on the islands.

Like their Indian counterparts, people of Fiji celebrate Diwali with elaborate lighting and candle decorations. It is also a national holiday in the country.

“This Diwali is special because we celebrate with the assurance that our resilience has prevailed over the pandemic and with the happiness that our recovery is here. Light has won over darkness. Good has won over evil.”

Diwali in Fiji is a five-day festival, starting with Dhanteras, then Hanuman Jayanti and Narak Chaturdashi, followed by Diwali, and then Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj celebrations.

Indians make around 38 per cent of Fiji’s population and as of 2021, roughly 3.20 lakh Indians live in the South Pacific nation, according to the Union Ministry of External Affairs.

They have mostly descended from ‘Girmitiyas’, or indentured labourers, brought to the islands by British colonial rulers between 1879 and 1916 to work on Fiji’s sugar plantations.

The vast majority of Indo-Fijians trace their origins to Bihar and South India.

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