The Light Belongs in the Darkness

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Imagine a row of about 50 or more little lamps waiting to be lit as the twilight descends to deep dark. It is an exercise that becomes a meditation on patience, perseverance, while you continue to display a calm and cheerful disposition; much as you might like to walk away and say this is a waste of time.


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But how can you walk away when around you serene ladies in elegant saris, wide-eyed children and entire families are happily tending—lighting and re-lighting—the lights of Divali. The Festival of Lights in Trinidad and Tobago belongs to everyone.

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At some time, every one of us— Trinidadian of whatever heritage or ethnicity—has tended a row of deyas at Divali. It is this spirit that has given Divali, a traditional Hindu observance, such universal resonance: to dispel the darkness with a single light; to be that light in the dark; to conquer evil with the light of a single soul.

The interest around Divali takes place at secular and religious levels. At dusk, the deyas are filled with coconut oil and lit.

Light is all around us

Similar observances take place in many schools around the country. In towns and villages such as Tunapuna, Felicity, Chaguanas, observances begin in the weeks before Divali with the Ramleela, an annual enactment of the Ramayan. The story told by the Hindu sage Tulsidas has been kept alive in this way for decades, passed on in the oral traditions of generations of Indo-Trinidadians.

1. Bear Witness

Ramleela is a dramatic presentation that takes place over 10 nights, and recounts the adventures of the king Rama and his wife Sita during 14 years in exile. The theme is echoed in domestic observances as devout Hindus clean and decorate their homes, perform poojas ceremonial worship, prayers and anticipate the Divali with new saris for the women of the household, and preparation of sweetmeats and food for visitors who are invited to be part of lighting ceremonies. As St. May St.

Teresa of Calcutta, whose feast day is September 5, pray for us all to receive that light, and to share it, as she did, with those who wait in darkness for someone to bring them the radiance of Christ. McKeegan gmail.


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    Catholic Exchange is a project of Sophia Institute Press. Email Login. Catholic Exchange. While she was cleaning, she found a very beautiful old lamp, covered with dirt and dust.

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