Posted by Maria Mohammed-Maharaj on Oct 16, 2017
The Rotary Club of St Augustine held its' Annual Divali Celebrations on Wednesday 11th October at Phillip's Gourmet Restaurant.

Divali Message by Vivianna Kelly

Hinduism is defined as a religion, religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, and a way of life, however in India it is referred to as dharma. Hinduism has no-single founder and no single scripture. There are many gods and goddesses who each have significant roles in our daily lives. Hinduism just like any other religion believes in unity and cooperation among each other.
Divali is known as the Festival of Lights. It’s spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. On the day of Divali it is believed to bring light into our homes and lives.
There are two ancient beliefs from the scriptures that exist today. One being the emergence of Mother Lakshmi from the churning of the ocean and the second being the arrival of Lord Ram, Mother Sita and Lakshman from exile to Ayodhya, when the people of Ayodhya lit the streets with deyas upon their arrival.
From these ancient beliefs the tradition of performing Lakshmi Puja, preparing meals, and lighting of deyas together as a family still exist today. During the period of Divali families perform a lot of charity work such as preparing meals and distributing gifts to persons.
Divali has evolved to a festival celebrated by all worldwide. Even the Past President of the USA who is a well known, highly esteemed man of power lit a deya in the White House for the first time in 2009 and he states “ this year, I was honored to kindle the first ever deya in the Oval Office, a lamp that symbolizes how darkness will always be overcome by light. It is a tradition that I hope future presidents will continue.”
As Rotarians you may not acknowledge that each and every one of you bring light into peoples lives. Sometimes directly by building homes and inputting electricity or indirectly by bringing communities together for a tree planting project, aiding with the eradication of polio, funding the under privileged medical procedures, enhancing children’s education by purchasing school books, and many more that if I attempt to list them will take us until morning.
Bringing light into your life and other peoples lives varies from minor to major actions and even that smallest actions that we take for granted such as purchasing or cooking a meal for a person can bring light into that persons life and in return yours.
And that is what Divali is about bringing happiness, peace , and positive energy all in the form of light into our own and other peoples lives. Any action no matter how small it is can cause a ripple effect in many persons lives.

Happy Divali to each and every one of you.