Johannesburg in South Africa has already started planning for this year’s Diwali, Hindu festival of lights, which falls on November 13, 2012.
In a release published on the official website of the City of Johannesburg, organizers want to make “Diwali in Jozi” “as inclusive as possible”. They are seeking active participation of various cultural organizations in “planning and implementation” of the program to encourage development of “sustainable partnerships”. Naufal Khan is the public relations officer of the festival.
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded the inclusive approach of Johannesburg in Diwali celebrations. It was a “step in the right direction”, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, added.
According to Rajan Zed, Diwali aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hindus worship goddess of good fortune and beauty Lakshmi, god of wisdom and auspiciousness Ganesh, and mountain Goverdhan on this day. Also on this day, coronation of Lord Ram was held, Lord Hanuman was born, Lord Vishnu returned kingdom to monkey king Bali of Kiskindha, Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi married, Lord Krishan killed demon Narakasur, and ancient king Vikramaditya was crowned. On this day of forgiveness, festivities, and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. It is also considered a harvest festival. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, Zed points out.
Johannesburg, which claims itself as “a world class African city”, is the world’s biggest city not located on a coastline, river, or lake. This largest city of South Africa also claims to be the lightning capital of the world and is one of the world’s greenest cities. Lonely Planet describes it as “great big beating heart of South Africa” and it is home to an Apartheid Museum. Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau and Trevor Fowler are the Executive Mayor and City Manager respectively.