Deepavali is the most festive holiday of the year for the world’s Hindus, and it is an official public holiday in many countries with Hindu populations, including Kenya.
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Note: Diwali is a public holiday observed by Hindus only.
Kenya’s population of Indian descent is only around one percent, but nonetheless, the Hindu festival of Diwali is a public holiday here. The same traditions adhered to in India are practiced by Kenyan Hindus as well, though the size of the celebrations is obviously quite a bit smaller.
The basis of Diwali, The Festival of Lights, lies in Hindu mythology. It is meant to be a celebration of “good triumphing over evil“ and a day to worship the gods and goddesses of prosperity. The main action taken to celebrate Diwali at home is lighting diya lanterns in one’s window or other parts of one’s home.
Also adding to the lights are fireworks that light up the sky. However, the government only allows fireworks and firecrackers at set hours of the day, and they are not to be set off in residential zones.
Most who celebrate will visit friends and relatives on this day and may visit a local Hindu temple. Gambling late into the night on Diwali has also become a tradition for many in Kenya.