From the bottom of my heart, “Thank you” to the people of New Zealand

Like many people around the world, I am deeply moved by the display of humanity by New Zealanders in reaction to the terrorist attack that happened recently in Christchurch.

That city had already been hit hard in February 2011 when a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck. 185 people were killed, 6000 injured and around 170,000 buildings were damaged. Till today the country’s earthquake commission is dealing with thousands of claims from that earthquake.

Almost two weeks ago on 15 March, Christchurch suffered another tragedy when a 28-year-old Australian terrorist and white supremacist, wearing military-style clothing and bearing semi-automatic weapons and shotguns, attacked worshippers during Friday Prayers at Al Noor Mosque. He then drove away to Linwood Islamic Centre located five kilometres away to carry out another attack. 50 people died and another 50 injured. Police stopped and arrested the gunman before he could move on to a third location to continue his killing spree.

The rest of the world is just as shocked as New Zealanders themselves that this has happened in their country, long considered a very safe one. Prior to this, the worst public shooting was in 1990 in the seaside township of Aramoana where a verbal dispute between neighbours ended up with one of them fatally shooting 13 people. However, experts say that right-wing extremism has been growing in New Zealand in recent years.

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I keep reading in the news about the action from the New Zealanders in response to this horrific tragedy. I feel it’s truly exemplary how they have come together, how even in their shock and grief they still express so much compassion and unity, and that the rest of the world can learn so much from this.

We have to remember always that when terrorists attack us, (them and the war-mongering powers-that-be that sponsor and support them including politicians, and journalists, social media activists, and others who benefit from chaos) whether they call themselves Muslims or Christians or whatever, that the purpose of their cowardly attacks is to divide us. To ultimately bring fear and suspicion and hatred so that we turn against each other. They are such a tiny minority and they need many more supporters if they are to further their agendas, and so they continue to kill the innocent to continue trying to sow hatred to try get more people to their side.

Unfortunately there will always be people, a few we might even know, and who are supposed to be educated but who are still stupid enough to fall for the con of the terrorists. These people claim to hate terrorists but are actually serving the objectives of the terrorists by making disdainful remarks about an entire religion or community. Of course, there are also people who already hate certain religions and communities and are using terrorist attacks as excuses to further the spread of their hate. It’s encouraging therefore that they are in the minority. It’s encouraging that with every terrorist attack there are more expressions of support to both victims and the community being put in a bad light because the terrorist is said to belong to it. Nobody with a shred of common sense and decency is going to let these terrorists win by succumbing to the hate they are trying to create.

New Zealand however has taken the response to deny terrorists their objective to a whole new level, and with action as well, not just thoughts and prayers. The world is watching their leaders especially their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with admiration for her exemplary and firm leadership, as well as regular Kiwi folks who have displayed so much strength and solidarity.

Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been heavily criticised for showing at his political rallies parts of a video the terrorist took during his attack, made an effort to single out Ms Ardern for praise. (At least 3 Turkish citizens were among the wounded in the attacks. On top of that, in the hate-filled manifesto the terrorist had written, he had called for the assassination of Mr Erdogan along with others such as Sadiq Khan the mayor of London, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.)

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Mr Erdogan wrote that:

all Western leaders must learn from the courage, leadership and sincerity of New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, to embrace Muslims living in their respective countries.”

I think the Jordanian Prince El Hassan bin Talal, who was in New Zealand and visited Christchurch (two Jordanians were among those killed) expressed it best in an interview with Radio New Zealand when he said:

“It is simply impossible not to take heed of the goodness, of the kotahitanga, of New Zealanders.”

“And I think that a world at war with itself can only find serenity in the example of the compassion and the love that New Zealanders have shown.”

A quick online check of what kotahitanga means turned up unity and solidarity in Māori, the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, also called Māori.

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There are so many instances of how the New Zealanders, leaders and the public alike, acted so admirably in response to the tragedy. I can’t possibly list them all but here are some of the ones that have particularly stayed with me:

ORDINARY FOLKS EXPRESSING SUPPORT

Linked above, CNN World reported how various communities were helping others, including the Te Atatū Baptist Church in Auckland which announced on Facebook that it was opening its doors to Muslims because mosques had been closed.

As a Muslim I am heartened and thankful the article also mentioned that Muslims have shown heart to others as well, for example raising funds for their Jewish brothers and sisters after the terrorist attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in the U.S. last October.

I read on Mothership website of the two New Zealanders, remarkably beautiful souls, who separately visited two different mosques to express their support and sympathy on Saturday 16 March, just a day after the attack. Both the mosques have posted about the visits on their Facebook pages.

On Al-Huda Mosque’s page, its chairman Azman Kassim posted that a New Zealander lady named Mrs Kim Forrester, visited the mosque and apologised on behalf of her countrymen for what happened and prayed for the Muslim community. Mr Azman said she need not have apologised and expressed his gratitude for her gesture.

The second New Zealander is an unnamed gentleman. He is pictured below in the Facebook post by Masjid Al-Falah, with flowers he had brought and a note in the bouquet. The mosque said in the post that the gentleman offered his condolences and thoughts, and that he was deeply affected by the tragedy and wanted to express his support for the victims.

The story on Mothership featured the note in the bouquet. It was in both Māori and English and read:

“Kia Raha, Ria toa, Ri a manawanui

Be strong, be brave, be steadfast

E Ihowa Atua, Te aroha noa,

O Lord God, care for us”

Buzzfeed News wrote how just three days after the attack, on the first day school reopened since the attack, thousands of students from various schools in Christchurch gathered at Hagley Park, near one of the two mosques where the shootings took place. They went there after school, bearing candles and flowers for a vigil to pay their respects to the dead and to share how the event had impacted them.

One of the students at the vigil named Heneli remarked:

I’ve never seen so much support from outside of communities. I just love it, to see that everyone’s here, showing their respect.”

And another named Vitorina said that:

“Even though we’re different ethnicities, different cultures, different religions, we care. As one, we all came here, we showed that we cared for Muslims.”

Later that week on 22 March, thousands of the public gathered at Hagley Park to show solidarity with the Muslims. Radio New Zealand’s website wrote that:

Men in suits, women wearing headscarves – some for the first time – patched gang members, toddlers in pushchairs, and hundreds in the traditional dress of a culture less familiar.”

At that same gathering that took place on a Friday one week since the terror attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said to the attendees:

According to Muslim faith, the Prophet Muhammad, sallahu alaihi wasallam (peace be upon him) said, ‘The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain.”

“New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”

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VOLUNTARY GIVING UP OF GUNS

Even before the ban on semi-automatic weapons announcement that came on 21 March, the terrorist attack in Christchurch had moved some Kiwi gun owners to give up their weapons of their own accord such as the following two:

Both persons above have had to put up with pro-gun critics and trolls on their Twitter accounts regarding their decision, but there are also many people supporting and thanking them.

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GUN LAWS

Impressively, it took Ms Ardern just six days since the attack to announce a ban on semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles, announcing as well that a buyback programme will be launched to take existing weapons out of circulation. This ban was also supported by the country’s opposition party whose leader, Simon Bridges, said that it is in the national interest to keep New Zealanders safe.

This action was stunningly decisive and firm enough to draw praise from two American politicians who lamented that this is the kind of leadership the U.S. needs to protect its people, including schoolchildren. Bernie Sanders, a Senator and presidential candidate tweeted:

While Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Congresswoman for New York, made reference to the horrific December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting where 20 children and 6 adult staff were fatally shot:

New Zealand is said to have an estimated 1.2 million guns registered to civilians. With a population of about 4.8 million people, the ownership works out to about 1 gun for every 4 people, or about 26.3 firearms per 100 people. In comparison, this is far better than the U.S. which is said to have more guns than people with about 120 firearms per 100 people. However, Australia fares better than New Zealand with almost half the number of firearms per capita with about 14.5 firearms per 100 people.

(On a side note, my mind is ALWAYS blown all over again EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I think of how much smaller the population of countries like New Zealand is compared to Singapore. We have 5.6 million people on our tiny island, so tiny we nicknamed it our ‘little red dot’, while New Zealand, the whole of New Zealand!, has only 4.8 million. These numbers make me feel even more confined and claustrophobic, not to mentioned annoyed, when I’m out amidst human congestion!)

(However, in the spirit of always having gratitude for the things to be grateful for, and this is a MAJOR one, we don’t have guns in the hands of the public. Phew!)

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THE NEXT STEP: WORKING TO PREVENT SIMILAR TRAGEDIES

And now Jacinda Ardern has also ordered a royal commission, the highest level of independent inquiry available under the country’s law to investigate how the tragedy could have happened, and whether the police and intelligence services could have done more to prevent it from happening. The formal inquiry is also to look into the issues of the accessibility of semi-automatic weapons and the role of social media in the attacks.

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Linked above is the full list of the 50 killed in the attack.

*Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un*

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Mitzvah Day: Jews and Muslims working together to help those in need

Mitzvah Day is an annual day of social action led by the Jewish community where volunteer work is done together with people from other faiths. According to Wikipedia, in Britain it started in 2005 when it was introduced there by Laura Marks, who got the idea from the synagogue she attended when she lived in the United States for several years.

For the 2018 London event which was held just this past Sunday, it was held at East London Mosque, where volunteers from Muslim Aid and Stoke Newington Shul cooked 1,000 bowls of chicken soup for the homeless. It is through this particular story on the BBC website that I came across the event. Around the world, 40,000 volunteers undertake similar or other activities to help those in need.

On the Mitzvah Day website, I also learned about its sister initiative, the Muslim-led Sadaqa Day which takes place in March. Sadaqa Day was formed in 2015 and provides another opportunity for volunteers from different faiths to get together for volunteer work.

I was very surprised that such beautiful collaborations exist, and was just as surprised that I got a little teary reading about it, haha.

It’s just that there is so much negative news when it comes to interfaith relations, especially between Muslims and Jews. Of course the various issues involved are very complex and have been so for ages, but that’s even more reason to celebrate, or at least not neglect, the similarities in values we share.

Because, really, the assholes seeking to divide us with hatred and enmity are really such a tiny minority, whether they are terrorists, politicians inciting fear and hatred to win elections, racist people with a chip on the shoulder inciting even more fear and hatred on forum boards online and elsewhere, etc. We have to remember that people in general, the great majority of us from whatever race, religion and nationality, are good, honest folks, who just want to get on with our lives, earning a living for ourselves and/or our families, and who just have no time or inclination for any racist or religion-bashing shit. That’s what I believe.

Related:

  • The Guardian – 18 November 2018 – Mitzvah Day: Jews and Muslims come together to cook chicken soup
  • Mitzvah Day – Jews and Muslims unite again for Sadaqa Day
  • The following video is from last year, featuring the event in Detroit in the United States.

 

Christians who choose not to eat pork

I’ve long known that, like Muslims, Jews don’t eat pork. Well, not all, apparently. From articles like this one and this one I recently learnt that some do and some don’t.

This is the first time time though that I’ve heard of Christians who don’t, either. It’s truly fascinating.

When I first saw the video on a friend’s Facebook, I was really surprised. And the first thing I did was to turn to my Catholic partner of more than twenty years and asked him incredulously, “Did you know there are Christians who don’t eat pork?” and he replied he never heard of Christians not eating pork either. So, yeah, it’s definitely something interesting to learn.

A quick Google search to check out who Joel Osteen is garnered the info that he is “an American preacher, televangelist, author, and the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church, the largest Protestant church in the United States, in Houston, Texas.”

So I guess that’s a Texan accent? Sexy. Not to be disrespectful to a pastor or anything, but ah do love that drawl.

An important message for all Muslims in the world, not just in France

I was browsing through LiveLeak, and came across this video by a French Muslim, passionately calling on his Muslim countrymen to report to the authorities if they encounter anyone talking about commiting acts of terrorism, anyone even hinting in the slightest that such a thing is alright. Report them immediately to the authorities.

Click here to go to the version with English subtitles as featured on LiveLeak.

The following is the original video as featured on his Facebook and Youtube, without subtitles.

You know, what he says is such basic common sense, something all of us are supposed to already know, and don’t need reminding. And yet apparently common sense and basic decency are so sorely lacking among some people, that this video is absolutely necessary.

Please, for the love of God, for the love of our religion and the love of all our fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike, please report anyone you come across who you suspect of being involved with terrorist activities. The great majority of us will be fortunate enough to never come across such people in our lifetime, but for those who do, anyone who speaks of commiting murder and other crimes must be reported. No ifs and buts. I don’t see how any of us can look at ourselves in the mirror again and not feel like a heinous criminal ourselves if we come across such people, yet keep quiet for whatever reason.

In case you’re reading this but you’re not going to watch the video (I really hope you will, plus it’s less than 3 minutes) here are the English subtitles that was part of the video on LiveLeak (I think courtesy of the person who posted the video there, Denidorm). I took the bother to type it out because his message is so important.

Peace be upon you

 

I’m making this video because I’m sick of it

I’m sick of all these attacks

I’m sick to see it going to shit like that

This way we’re gonna end up with a civil war

An idealogical war

and it can get very ugly

 

So I say to all Muslims of France

protect our beautiful religion

let’s track these imposters down

who pass for Muslims and kill people

It’s not the government that’s gonna do the work

Not state security or the intelligence services or all that

It’s us, us Muslims who go to the mosque

Us Muslims who share the values of the republic

It’s up to us to do the work

To track these sons of bitches down

To inform the authorities at the slightest

 

That doesn’t make you a snitch, the opposite

Because with that mentality

tomorrow they’ll blow you up

Or your mother or sister will be there

 

So it’s up to us, Muslims of France

who have our religion in our hearts

the values and principles of Islam,

religion of peace and sharing

It’s up to us to fuck up

the shit that’s inside our religion

 

The people who don’t frequent the mosque

don’t succeed cause it’s a never ending job

So rise up, rise up and show who we are

Even if we don’t have to justify anything,

because the smart know

that’s not what Islam stands for

 

But it’s up to us, to fuck them up,

wherever we or they are

If they come to talk and try to brainwash you,

track them down and break their jaws

 

Because the solution can only come from us Muslims, from inside

Because these people, sadly, they come to the same places of worship as us

 

So I repeat, it’s up to us, us Muslims of France

who share the values of the republic

who share the values of Islam

It’s up to us to track them down

and bring them before the competent authority

Even if we have to beat them down with our fists, we will beat them down with our fists

 

Enough with these cunt pseudo-Muslims

who incriminate 2 billion Muslims

 

Because whether you like it or not,

they will lump us together, every day

A brother will put in his resume, he has a beard? They will put it aside

There’s so many examples of that

It’s up to us to not stay silent, deaf and blind

Hit them hard

The solution will come from us, French Muslims

 

Peace be upon you

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Related:

 

 

This Ramadan, I was taught kindness and forgiveness by a Catholic.

Ramadan is coming to a close. I was thinking of this holy month. Of what it means to me. If I had learnt anything more of myself from it this year. I even typed ‘spirit of Ramadan‘ online, hoping to read posts of what that means to other Muslims. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that without a doubt, the most impact an individual has personally had on me this Ramadan is Mr. Sim Siak Heong, who is a Malaysian Chinese and a Catholic. Through his actual actions. Not just words, or prayer, or advice but through actual deed.

67-year-old Mr. Sim was the victim of a terrible road bully incident earlier this month, where he had accidentally hit the new Peugeot car of 30-year-old Siti Fairrah in a car park in Kuantan, Malaysia. She not only got out the car and heaped abuse on him like some crazy thug, and demanded cash on the spot, but hit his car repeatedly with a steering lock.

Thankfully it was recorded on video. It was very painful for me to watch the video as I can’t help but feel really bad as a Malay and a Muslim. I also felt angry that a senior citizen was abused so badly. I actually had to pause the video several times and considered closing the page, but I forced myself to watch it till the end. I am glad for the existence of the video recording. I look at it as a valuable lesson and reminder of what can happen if I experience rage at someone but fail to control it and rein it in.

Each time I watch the video, I am reminded yet again of how lacking my character is compared to Mr. Sim’s. Because he forgave her, but as for me I don’t know if I could, if it had happened to me, or worse, a loved one especially an elder relative of Mr. Sim’s age. And amazingly, not only did he forgive her, he expressed sadness when she was subsequently charged and punished by the courts, saying that she did not deserve the punishment. I read in this article that he said:

“I feel sorry for her. She doesn’t deserve it at all.”

“I have forgiven her and I urge the public to do the same. There is no need to condemn her anymore.”

I hope the person who took the video pats him or herself on the back for doing such an important public service. It’s because of the video, which understandably outraged a lot of people, that the police pursued the case. Siti Fairrah was fined RM5,000 and ordered to do 240 hours of community work after she pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage to Mr. Sim’s car.

Kudos to the Malaysian police as well for still going ahead and taking action against her despite the saintly Mr. Sim declining to lodge a report, even when the police advised him to do so. And to the general Malaysian public online regardless of race and religion who condemned the road rage incident. And yes, to Siti Fairrah as well, for admitting what she did was wrong and for apologising to Mr. Sim publicly.

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I’d like to put here an excerpt from a beautiful post I came across on a site called Islamway.net, as I was surfing around online finding and reading what ‘spirit of Ramadan‘ means to other people.

Ramadan is a celebration of God’s guidance to humanity, through the Quran, which is a guide for doing good and a warning against evil. In order to bring the soul into harmony with the Quranic ideals of belief and virtue, fasting is prescribed as a way for individuals to come closer to God and to lift their souls to new heights of piety. In doing so, the entire human body is able to transform itself into an agent of positive moral and social change that seeks to replace miserliness with generosity, anger with patience, revenge with love, and war with peace—in effect, replacing good with evil in the world.

Of course, kindness and forgiveness are for all times, not just Ramadan, but I feel that’s when we Muslims, as we fast, are more reminded to think and do more for the lesser off and to reflect on our character.

When I say ‘spirit of Ramadan‘, I am also referring to virtues like patience and calm that Mr. Sim had displayed when confronted with such an ugly face of road rage, and the provocation it challenged him with.

I think it’s such a beautiful thing when we are taught these virtues from people of other religious faiths or even people with no religious faith as well. It reminds us that there must be mutual respect. Because at the end of the day, life comes down to treating everyone else the same way we ourselves wish to be treated. That sounds so easy and logical, it sounds so easy to remember, yet strangely and unfortunately it’s apparently so easy for some of us to forget.

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I can’t seem to find a decent photo of Mr. Sim. This one is taken from a still of a video. From forum.lowyat.net, via Google Image. Click to go there.

The following video is the Astro Awani interview of Mr. Sim from where the image above was from. It’s in Malay.

I just sighed in sadness when I watched it. Damn, what a terrible thing to have happened to such a kind soul.

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“I am a Catholic. In our religion, and in all religions, it teaches us to love the ones who wrong us.”

 – Sim Siak Heong

Thank you, Mr. Sim.

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Related:

Selamat Hari Natal

That’s ‘Merry Christmas’ to you in Malay.

Inspired by the video by Mashable below I saw via Tastefully Offensive.

WINNER, FOR BEST SOUNDING MERRY CHRISTMAS: Lithuanian! Or rather, the guy who said it in Lithuanian, at 0:20, for the sweetest sounding ‘Merry Christmas‘ wish ever.

And the French version, all breathily sexy at 0:33, coming in at a close second place.

Nah, just kidding, they all sound equally nice, as they all mean to wish love peace and good cheer.

Merry Christmas!

Muslims called to pray for Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela tumblr_mxdb7et9KF1s418gfo1_500

From the tumblr site shizzlesnikki. Click to go there.

From South Africa’s IOL News:

Johannesburg – The Al Jama-Ah political party on Friday called on Muslims to say a silent prayer for former president Nelson Mandela, his family and friends.

“The greatest gift one can give to a human being is freedom and that is what Mandela did for all South Africans,” party leader Ganief Hendricks said in a statement.

“The party has asked all Muslims to observe all protocols as Muslim leaders from every Arab and Muslim country visit South Africa over the next two weeks to pay their respects to the country and comfort South Africans.”

He said the Muslim world had the highest regard for Mandela.

From a Huffington Post article on spiritual quotes by Mr. Mandela, who was baptized a Methodist:

“Religion is one of the most important forces in the world. Whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, or a Hindu, religion is a great force, and it can help one have command of one’s own morality, one’s own behavior, and one’s own attitude.” -Nelson Mandela

Related:

Nelson mandela_tumblr_mxdc3039hh1s8s77io1_500

From the tumblr site Politics Among Nations. Click to go there.

Pope Francis

440px-Papa_Francisco_na_JMJ_-_24072013

Photograph by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency, via Wikipedia. Click to go there.

Pope Francis was born to Italian parents in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 17th December 1936, and named Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church. He worked briefly as a chemical technician before entering seminary and ordained a priest in 1969. He became Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict in February 2013, Pope Francis was elected. He chose the papal name Francis in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.

I first read about him honouring American teenage (and openly gay) scientist Jack Andraka on the Facebook page of Pink Dot SG a few days ago. I’m happily stunned by this news. I don’t know where to begin. A sixteen year old scientist? Wow, that’s amazing. Who made a breakthrough in cancer research? Oh my God, that’s incredible. Pope Francis honouring his achievement? That’s wonderful.

Jack was honoured with the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award, which is given to young adults whom the Vatican considers to be positive role models. On Advocate.com I read that Jack Andraka had said in an interview:

“It’s really amazing to be recognized by the Vatican, especially as a gay scientist. I mean this would be unheard of just a few years ago. To be part of this bridge of progress is really amazing. It just shows how much the world has grown to accept people that are gay and are LGBT. It’s really amazing.”

A few months ago, I also came across on the blog Bryan Patterson’s Faithworks on Pope Francis touching on homosexuality when he said, “Who am I to judge them?”.

Huffingtonpost.com quoted the Wall Street Journal that the Pope’s comment about homosexuality was in context of a question about gay priests. He was on the plane back to Rome from Rio where he had visited slums and prisons, and presided over a Mass for three million people at Copacabana Beach. On the plane, he was taking questions from reporters and he spoke about gays and the reported ‘gay lobby’.

“Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. “You can’t marginalize these people.”

Pope Francis is much admired by many people around the world, myself included, for his humility and his concern for the poor, for his compassion for others regardless of backgrounds and religious beliefs, and for his choosing to live more modestly when he has access to luxuries at the Vatican. Long before he became Pope, he was already known for his humility and leading a simple lifestyle. For example when he was Cardinal in Buenos Aires, he was taking public transport to get around, and chose to live in a small apartment rather than in an elegant bishop’s residence, and cooked his own meals.

Happy Deepavali

Deepavali, also known as Diwali and ‘The Festival of Lights’, falls on the 2nd of November this year.

According to Wikipedia, it is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

And from Mr. Subhamoy Das in About.com:

Deepavali or Diwali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It’s the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that’s marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.

Deepavali 2013 Murugesan_reduced

The front design of a card for my friend and former colleague Murugesan, who had returned home to India.

When I decided to do the card above, a little look-see online shows that popular elements for Deepavali cards include pretty variations of the ubiquitous little clay lamp, and the gorgeous kōlam or raṅgolī. (Here’s the link to an informative Sahapedia article by Prof. Vijaya Nagarajan on these art forms.) I decided to have a simple lamp for my card, as the background I wanted is already way too busy and festive to compete with a joyous kōlam.

Wishing all Hindus a wonderful Deepavali, filled with the light of love and happiness!