Suva, Fiji, November 5, 2018
I wish every Fijian a very happy and blessed Diwali, a Festival that has long been among the most special and joyful celebrations on the Fijian calendar.
For generations, the Fijian people have joined hands to celebrate the Festival of lights, and for generations, our Diwali celebrations have served as a triumphant display of the diversity of faith that we are so fortunate to enjoy in our country.
I have warm memories of Diwali that stretch all the way back to my youth.
I remember the happiness of our Hindu brothers and sisters year after year, I remember the happiness I felt myself watching their festivities, and I remember always being welcomed – with open arms to share in the joy of their celebrations.
I know that every Fijian, regardless of our background, enjoys the spectacle of the fireworks, the wonderful colour of this Festival and the warm glow of the candles and lamps that adorn communities across Fiji – all of which are happy reminders of the joy and goodness of what life has to offer.
Celebration of Victory
Diwali is a celebration of Victory: The Victory of good over evil. That Spiritual Victory is one that speaks to every Fijian, as well all strive to walk a better, higher path in our daily lives, replacing anger with patience, selfishness with gratitude, and divisiveness with peace, camaraderie and understanding.
Even in those tragic times of our history when Fijians were pitted against one another, divided along ethnic and religious lines, Diwali has always served as a bridge that linked Fijian communities to one another in kindred celebration.
Those moments of happiness we shared together, even in the darkest of times, gave us all a glimpse into the remarkable potential of a united, inclusive Fiji.
Sharing the future
Now, finally, we are one Fijian family. Now, we not only share in our religious celebrations, we share in the progress and prosperity of Fiji.
We share a future, we share a destiny, and we share a love for each other that transcends any of our differences – differences that come together to compose the rich fabric of Fijian society.
So this Diwali, I ask that we once again celebrate the spirit of openness and togetherness that defines the Fijian character.
I ask that we take the time to reflect on our great progress, as one Nation and one people, and on what our nation has yet to achieve.
And above all, I ask that we remind ourselves of what is most important in life by taking time to spend with our families and loved ones, nourishing our spirits with the unyielding strength of family and friendships.
To all Fijians, I wish you a joyful Diwali.
Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama is Prime Minister of Fiji.