By Conrad MacLean
They may be separated from their homeland by a thousand miles of desert, but the Indian communities of Perth were united on the Claremont Showgrounds last weekend for the festival of Diwali.
Several thousand festival-goers were united by the annual celebration of lights in the land they’ve come to love and call home.
Families from all faiths and regions of India came together – Sikhs from Punjab, Dravidians from the jungles in the south and Hindus and Muslims.
Diwali is a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of lighted lamps.”
The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
Festival-goers danced into the night under the stars and fireworks, singing songs of hope for the future.
The stories of Diwali have been passed down through the ages. The legend of Diwali tells of Prince Ram and his wife, Sita, who were exiled to the forest for 14 years. After many battles with demons they returned home. Rama was made king. His people lit his house with oil lamps in celebration of his return.
“Diwali is that time of the year, when I go back home to see my parents, back to lights, candles, diya and sweets,’’ says Indian-born Shreya Mishra.
“Friends come in with gifts and surprises and a lot of food… Diwali means home to me.”