South India date for Diwali is correct

2014-10-18 00:00

THE SA Hindu Maha Sabha had dismissed a claim by the Midlands Hindu Society that the date set for Diwali this year is incorrect.

The society’s Sherry Mahabeer said there have been many complaints regarding the date announced by the Sabha. She said the confusion had arisen due to an arrangement put in place by the Sabha many years ago. “It was decided that the ‘official’ date for Diwali would be alternated each year between that of the Hindu community of North Indian descent and the Hindu community of South Indian descent. This was done for the purpose of speaking with one voice when petitioning the government to allow the Hindu community one day off in a year to celebrate our most significant religious festival,” she said.

Head of the priests’ council of the Sabha, Dr Lokesh Maharaj, said the organisation had met almost ten years ago to discuss the constant confusion caused by the different dates for Diwali.

“There was a unanimous agreement that the date for Diwali will alternate each year to accommodate both South and North. The South African Hindu Maha Sabha has since followed that agreement.

“In 2008, the South Indian date was used for the public holiday. Since then the dates have alternated: 2009 was North, 2010 was South, 2011 was North, 2012 was South, 2013 was North and 2014 was South again,” he added.

• Meanwhile, the old Durban drive-in site came alive with colour and lights yesterday as the annual Diwali festival got under way.

Attendance was good despite the gloomy weather, with women in saris, punjabis and shararas providing the colour. — Weekend Witness Reporters

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