26 Oct 2019

Thousands celebrate Festival of Lights

10:37 am on 26 October 2019

Thousands of Hindus across New Zealand and the Pacific joing millions around the world to celebrate the Festival of Lights or Diwali this weekend.

Fijian Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa celebrates Diwali with senior citizens in Ba town this week.

Fijian Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa celebrates Diwali with senior citizens in Ba town this week. Photo: Supplied

In Fiji, the annual event is marked with a public holiday.

Diwali also marks the triumphant return of the Hindu avatar, Lord Rama, to Ayodhya and is symbolic of light prevailing over darkness, or good over evil.

The festival gives people the opportunity to explore the divine qualities of respect, love and compassion, according to Fiji's Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

Diwali plays a significant role in shaping the future of children, Ms Vuniwaqa said, teaching them how to respect their elders.

"Even in this era, these traits are what make a complete, fulfilling life for us and our loved ones," she said.

"And what better opportunity than Diwali to reiterate the importance of treating our elders with the respect, love and compassion that they deserve.

"Diwali is a reminder to us that it is our responsibility to look out for each other and see beyond gender, race, religion, age, abilities and status and do what is right."

Ms Vuniwaqa said Diwali highlighted family unity, togetherness and good values.

Meanwhile, the government will inspect fireworks retail outlets around the country this Diwali weekend to ensure compliance with the Trade Standards and Quality Control Act 1992.

The ministry of industry and trade said fireworks was declared dangerous under the act and there was a selective ban on the use of fireworks since 2004.

The ministry said selective ban outlined a list of permitted and non-permitted fireworks that could be supplied and manufactured in Fiji.