Nepal: Diwali celebrated by Christians, Buddhists and Hindus
by Christopher Sharma

The celebration of the lighted candles ended yesterday. The festival is celebrated by all family components in the Asian nation even those who have converted to other religions. Local expert: "More than a Hindu tradition, it is a common culture."


Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - In the Hindu tradition, the festival of Diwali (festival of lights) has become an integral part of Nepalese culture, and is shared by the faithful of all religions.

In Nepal the celebrations help to bring the members of the families together, who often have embraced different religions. The festival of lights, say representatives of different faiths to AsiaNews, "is useful to give continuity to family relationships. It is a way to support each other, respecting the faith and culture of the other ".

Diwali (or Deepawali) lasts around five days and ended yesterday in Nepal. For the Hindu tradition, it symbolizes the victory of truth over untruth, light over darkness, of life over death, good over evil. In recent days the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sent a message to Hindus for their holidays, stressing the need to support marriage and family life.

In the Himalayan country the festival is a moment of joy and sharing among families, during which the sisters mark their brothers foreheads with "tika" (a colored) and adorn them with garlands of flowers.

It is a popular holiday for faithful of all religions, so much that Diwali is no longer considered exclusive of the Hindus. Laxman Bista, a Hindu married to a Christian woman, said: "The lights are used by all religions. My family respects this feast, even if my wife converted to Catholicism shortly before our marriage. I respect her choice and she also respects my Hindu practices. Our two children have decided to embrace the Catholic faith. We share the celebrations without any disturbance”.

Rajan, Catholic activist, confirmed: "The Deepawali is not tied to a single faith." Karma Lama, a Buddhist leader, explains: "Deepawali means 'light' and we light candles and other bright objects. So we celebrate this anniversary with different lights. "

Bishnu Pravat, a local expert, reports that "the festival is celebrated especially in India and Nepal, where there is a Hindu majority. For a long time the latter tried to tie by force the Hindu culture, but many minorities have adopted the anniversary. More than a religious celebration, is an expression of a common culture. "

Nazrul Hussein, an Islamic leader and secretary general of an interfaith group, says: "Deepawali has deep cultural roots and reflects the importance of colors and changing seasons. For this reason the lights have nothing to do with matters of faith, since all religions make use of lights ". 

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