Trinidad, Tobago celebrate Diwali

Updated on Nov 11, 2007 12:53 AM IST

Four days after Trinidad and Tobago's general election, some 1.3 million people in this oil-rich Caribbean nation celebrated Diwali with fervour and merriment.

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IANS | ByParas Ramoutar, Port-of-spain

Four days after Trinidad and Tobago's general elections, some 1.3 million people in this oil-rich Caribbean nation celebrated Diwali with fervour and merriment.

All thought the pre-Diwali celebrations here were stymied because of the hectic election campaign drawn over a five-week period.

However, putting aside political divisions, the cosmopolitan society here comprising some 1.3 million Hindus, Christians and Muslims, all came together to celebrate Diwali. Since 1966, Diwali has been celebrated as a national holiday here.

One of the highlights of the Diwali celebrations here is the staging of the nine-day Diwali Nagar, which attracts over 100,000 people every year.

Newly-elected Prime Minister Patrick Manning, in his Diwali message, said this year's Diwali celebrations comes on the heels of our national election which was conducted with exemplary peace and tranquility.

"This reflects the maturity and good-natured disposition of our people," he said, adding, "Our nation continues to demonstrate to the world that countries have only to gain from the rich religious and cultural diversity of their people. We continue to manifest that it is possible for plural societies such as ours, to pursue it concomitantly."

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Dookeran noted that Diwali is an opportunity to consider words and actions. "The legitimacy of our political system depends on our adherence to the position of truth in public life," he said.

Dookeran said when all appeared to be lost, "people must always be able to find strength to move on with their character intact and goodness in their hearts."

Trinidad and Tobago President George Maxwell Richards said Diwali reminds us that there is hope. "No two lights in the array of deyas are the same, but their purpose is the same and if we consider the deyas, we can find in them a lesson that uplifts."

The new opposition leader, Basdeo Panday, said the nation must petition mother Lakshmi to bestow us with the "fortitude so that we can continue building our nation together.

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