Oct, 2018 - Deepavali event at the Temple of Fine Arts


Deepavali or Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights symbolising the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.  It is a time when homes, businesses, temples are cleaned, renovated, decorated and brightly illuminated.  Traditionally vilakku lamps are lit to symbolise good over evil.


Devoted Hindus cleanse their bodies and minds plus follow a strict vegetarian diet; meditate and pray in the lead up to the big day.  Temples receive offerings of flowers, fruit and coconuts.


On Deepavali/Diwali night, everyone dresses in their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes; attend prayers; feasts; and light up the skies with fireworks.


It’s a celebration of visiting family and friends and exchange gifts.   For businesses, it is an auspicious day.


The Festival of Lights shone bright as a group of ladies from MCG learned about Deepavali and its importance in the Hindu culture.


Everyone was greeted with a bindi dot to help retain energy and strengthen concentration before we were shown a slide presentation to learn about Deepavali. Our speaker explained the legends associated with Deepavali namely; Narakasura, the demon, was vanquished by Lord Krishna and after 14 years in exile Lord Rama returned, followed by the appearance of Mahalakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

With the participation of several ladies, instruction and assistance was given on how to wrap the sari in a variety of styles and the result was spectacular.   We look forward to seeing them at future Indian functions in a sari now they have learnt how to wrap and drape them.

A very kind gentleman bought jasmine buds so that we could learn the secret of making jasmine garlands called a gajra.   This is extremely delicate work and bananatree fibres are usually used to tie however to make our creation easy, we used strands of wool.  After a couple of times tying fingers and thumbs to our strand, we all managed to make beautiful arrangements that we pinned in our hair.

Lastly, we showed our coordination learning to dance Bollywood style.  Our instructor had all the correct hand and hip movements and we all did our best however will need a few more lessons.


As we left we were given a small clay lamp to light and bring blessings to our home and surroundings during Deepavali.


A delicious vegetarian buffet lunch at Annalakshmi restaurant was served with flavours from both north and south India and enjoyed by all.  On leaving a few took advantage of the treats for sale to take home and share with their families.


During this month and leading up to Deepavali it is recommended to wander down the main street of Brickfields and Little India to soak up the atmosphere of this festival.  One may also see kolam at various shopping centres.  Kolams are thought to bring prosperity to homes and were generally drawn at the doorsteps of an Indian home however you may see larger ones at shopping centres.  The creative and patient people have used materials of coloured rice grains, turmeric powder, dry rice flour to make intricate designs on the floors for shoppers to admire.


Lastly, fireworks play a significant role during Deepavali as they are set off to scare away evil spirits.  Don’t be alarmed as you go to sleep and are woken with a bang as fireworks light up the sky.  It is the festival of lights after all.


Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year.


Lydall Currie