Diwali in Malta – Home Away From Home

Diwali is more than a tradition, it’s the representation of Indian culture’s spiritual aspect.
This particular festival is the celebration of the victory of lights over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. How do Indian people experience this festival, especially when living abroad? In this episode of Home away from home, Gordhan Mohnani and Simon Bharwani, two important representatives of the Maltese-Indian Community Centre, tell us how they have brought Diwali to Malta.


The origin of the Indian community in Malta

When we asked Gordhan and Simon to tell us about the origin of the Indian community in Malta, they tried to sum up in a few words the whole story even if it started way back in 1880.
The first Indians who settled down in Malta were from the Sindh region. They started to open many kinds of stores, especially selling products from India. The years went by, and now Indian people in Malta are professionals in various sectors

In the 20th century, one of the first associations of Indians decided to build a temple in Malta. In this way, they would have been able to celebrate their traditions such as Diwali. For the first generation of migrants, cultural centres are extremely important. They are spaces where the community can meet, feel connected to the culture of origin and keep their traditions alive. But it can be different for the second and third generations. As Simon, who is married to a Maltese woman, told us for his children Diwali is like a “second Christmas”.

Diwali, the festival of lights

During Diwali, all the families use to meet at the temple and everyone brings a sweet as a symbol of happiness. It’s a moment of conviviality and happiness where the families exchange gifts and food. They pray all together and everyone wears new clothes as a sign of a new beginning. They organise a ball and live events. For Indian people, Diwali means more than a celebration. It is the start of a new year full of joy and light.

This year, Diwali is on November 14th (it follows the lunar calendar). Due to Covid-19 emergency, it won’t be celebrated as usual,  but we know that the warmth of this tradition will fill Indian families hearts anyway. And it will help them to feel close to home.

To know more about the Indian community in Malta, watch our interview with Gordhan Mohnani and Simon Bharwani.

To discover more about how people celebrate their traditions abroad, read our article about Blumenau: The Brazilian Oktoberfest.
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