VICE Mayor El Cid Familiaran said the Diwali Festival or the “Festival of Lights,” now on its 4th year in Bacolod, is a celebration of a strong bond between the Filipinos, particularly the Bacolodnons, and the Indians.
Familiaran, who sits as acting mayor since Mayor Evelio Leonardia is on travel abroad, underscored this fact as he addressed the Indian community and the Bacolodnon guests at the 4th Diwali Festival held at the SMX Convention Center Saturday.
“Through these years, we are gathering to join our Indian brothers in observing the biggest and most important holiday of the year (for them) to celebrate victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair," Familiaran added.
"This Festival of Lights for Bacolodnons means the celebration of the strong bonds we Filipinos share with you, our Indian friends, who visited the city," he added.
Familiaran said the month of October “gives us several reasons to celebrate – we have the vibrant MassKara and, of course, the one we are celebrating today, the bright colorful Diwali Festival.”
The celebration of the 4th Diwali Festival was spearheaded by the Indian Sikh Temple, and was attended by about 450 Indians, Filipino-Indians, and Bacolodnon guests. It featured a dinner of Indian cuisine and an Indian cultural show, and was capped by a fireworks display at the SM City parking lot.
Aside from Familiaran, among the guests were Bacolod First Lady Elsa Leonardia and daughter Kara, Councilors Ricardo Tan, Cindy Rojas, and Elmer Sy, and members of the Filipino-Chinese community in Bacolod.
Started in 2013, the celebration of the Diwali Festival in Bacolod was made an "annual tourism event" under Ordinance 08-14-694.
The ordinance stated: "Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs to mark historical events, stories or myths, but they all spiritually mark the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair.”
Diwali is a very important festival in the lives of Indians and it is being celebrated around the world, said Harish Nandwani, former president of Filipino-Indian community in Bacolod.
"For those (of us) who celebrate Diwali, there is a deeper meaning. Diwali symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of hope over despair," he added.
"It also symbolizes the brotherhood among of us. As we share the meal together, let us remember that we breathe the same air, we lived in the same planet and created by the same God – though we (call Him) in different names," he pointed out. (PR)