Reunion Island lights up for Diwali celebrations

St. Denis (Reunion Island), Oct 28 (IANS) Diwali celebrations are for the next couple of days set to illuminate the entire Reunion Island, as it gears up to celebrate the 27th edition of Deepavali, the festival of lights, organised by the Reunion Island Tourism (IRT).

This French island in the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar is home to nearly 2.5 lakh people of Indian origin — nearly a quarter to a third of the total population.

Most of this Indian origin population is concentrated in St. Andre, St. Pierre, St. Leu and St. Louis.

Although Diwali is celebrated in most of these areas, the centre of attraction remains the celebrations in Colossus Park, where every person of Indian origin gathers to celebrate the festival together.

An exclusive cultural event began from Thursday at Colossus Park, where an Indian ‘mela’ (fair) has come up.

Colossus Park has been turned into a village where every essence of Indian culture can be found — from Rajasthani folk dances to Hindi Bollywood songs.

Muhammad Azad, from Rajasthan in India, has come here with a dozen members of his ‘Indian Culture’ troupe to participate in the Diwali celebrations.

Muzahid, a member of the troupe, told IANS that most of the members are from Rajasthan and would present the varied colours of India through their dance, music and other performances.

Muhammad Irfan, who hails from Kathputli Colony of New Delhi, has come to Reunion Island to assist his maternal uncle (Mama) in the handicrafts business.

“Since last four years I have not seen Diwali in my home town as I fly here to help my Mamu in his business,” Irfan told this visiting IANS correspondent.

Hindus and Muslims together with others celebrate the festival of lights here.

Reunion Island Tourism (IRT), a partner of the 27th edition of Deepavali, organises cultural events to safeguard the memories of the origin of the Indian settlers.

An IRT official told IANS that the mela at Colossus Park will see more than 50 stalls of handicrafts, paintings, furniture, jewellery, leather goods and traditional costumes.

An exhibition on Indian culture has also been organised in the Media Library of St. Andre.

The official said that on Diwali day, temples and houses would be adorned with thousands of small lamps, fairy lights, and candles to commemorate the victory of light over darkness, good over evil.

(Brajendra Nath Singh can be reached at brajendra.n@ians.in)

–IANS

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