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Festival Diwali Essay In Punjabi

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Diwali Festival application from Punjabi Association to be reconsidered by special council meeting

By Claire Campbell

Updated August 31, 2016 13:29:30

The Punjabi Association's bid to stage its Diwali Festival at Thorndon Park in Adelaide's north-east will be reconsidered at a special council meeting tonight, where Indian community members will seek an apology over an earlier rejection.

Campbelltown Council knocked back an earlier bid, citing noise complaints after the 2014 event.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and others criticised the council's action as racist, after one councillor had commented that ethnic groups had a habit of hiding behind their language.

A fresh motion, put forward by Councillor Marijka Ryan, urges the council to rescind its previous decision and approve the park's use for this year's Diwali Festival in late October.

"We as a council may have overreacted in our deliberations with regard to the festival," she said of the earlier decision.

"It's regrettable that the media has so eagerly picked up on those deliberations and openly promoted them as racist.

"None of our councillors are racists, quite the opposite, however the choice of language used in response may have given that impression."

'We're not outsiders'

Punjabi Association president Kuldip Chugha is pleased the council will reconsider.

The association also has lodged a code of conduct complaint against Campbelltown Council, citing the comments made by two councillors which Mr Chugha said had been "racist".

"There's more than 1,000 Indian people living here ... we're not outsiders, we are a part of Campbelltown city," he said.

"If we hold the Diwali Festival here that will bring back peace and harmony with all the broader community.

"Everybody will be happy, children happy, children's parents will be happy and we can celebrate the Diwali."

Despite other councils offering sites, Mr Chugha said the Punjabi Association would be happy to use Thorndon Park if Campbelltown reversed its opposition.

Indian community members plan to attend tonight's council meeting and ask for an apology.

"We should have an apology because they hurt many people," Mr Chugha said.

Topics:religion-and-beliefs, discrimination, community-and-society, local-government, government-and-politics, hinduism, campbelltown-5074, adelaide-5000, sa

First posted August 31, 2016 13:27:25

Diwali

Find the date for Diwali 2014 in the multifaith calendar

Diwali, the Festival of Light, comes at the end of October or early November. It's a festival that Sikhs, Hindus and Jains celebrate.

Diwali for Sikhs

For Sikhs, Diwali is particularly important because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619.

Guru Hargobind - mid-19th century miniature from Punjab ©

The Sikh tradition holds that the Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned Guru Hargobind and 52 princes. The Emperor was asked to release Guru Hargobind which he agreed to do. However, Guru Hargobind asked that the princes be released also. The Emperor agreed, but said only those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison. This was in order to limit the number of prisoners who could leave.

However, Guru Hargobind had a cloak made with 52 pieces of string and so each prince was able to hold onto one string and leave prison.

Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Hargobind by lighting the Golden Temple and this tradition continues today.

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The Festival of Lights

The name of the festival comes from the Sanskrit word dipavali, meaning row of lights.

Diwali is known as the 'festival of lights' because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called Diyas. These lamps, which are traditionally fueled by mustard oil, are placed in rows in windows, doors and outside buildings to decorate them.

In towns in India (and in Britain) electric lights are often used in Diwali displays.

In India oil lamps are often floated across the river Ganges - it is regarded as a good omen if the lamp manages to get all the way across.

Fireworks are also a big part of the Diwali celebrations, although some Sikhs prefer not to use them because of noise, atmospheric pollution and the risk of accidental deaths and injuries.

Like Christmas in the West, Diwali is very much a time for buying and exchanging gifts. Traditionally sweets and dried fruit were very common gifts to exchange, but the festival has become a time for serious shopping, leading to anxiety that commercialism is eroding the spiritual side of the festival. In most years shopkeepers expect sales to rise substantially in the weeks before the festival.

Diwali is also a traditional time to redecorate homes and buy new clothes. Diwali is also used to celebrate a successful harvest.

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