Divali is the Hindu “Festival of Lights” during which clay lanterns are lit at night to symbolise the “triumph of good over evil.” As many of the people of Trinidad and Tobago are ethnically Indian and religiously Hindu, it is no surprise that the nation’s Divali celebration is among the most spectacular in the Western Hemisphere.
Bamboo structures are set up in open, grassy fields, in homes or driveways, or in public places. Lit clay lanterns called “deyas” are then arranged on the bamboo frames. Observant Hindus will fast, pray, and seek the blessings of the goddess Lakshmi on this day as well.
Many families will enjoy special dishes and desserts, and food is often given away to neighbours. Fasting is only from meat dishes, so everything is grain, fruit, and vegetable. Delicacies include: sweet pudding-like rice porridge, curried mango, powdered, seasoned, and fried split peas, and “Khurma,” which is fried flour mixed with ginger and cinnamon and eaten off a stick.
Large Divali festivals are held in public all over the two islands, especially in ethnic Indian population centres.