Bridging Indian and Filipino cultures through the Diwali Festival

There is more in India beyond viral posts

Beyond the viral "mekus, mekus" and other food stories from India, India and the Philippines share many commonalities in terms of tradition and culture, including a shared emphasis on spirituality. This is particularly noteworthy considering that the Philippines is one of the world's largest Catholic countries.

In an effort to promote Indian culture here, the Filipino Indian Commerce & Welfare Society Inc., brought Diwali Festival celebration to the Philippines. Diwali, a festival of lights, is considered the biggest holiday in Indian culture, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. Here, people celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.

“It represents the victory of light over darkness and hope,” Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, Shambhu Kumaran said. “It is festival where we look forward with hope. So in these difficult times, the message we like to convey is that together we will hope for the better future.”

During the celebration held last Nov. 4, 2023, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Bollywood stars performed, including Inderjit Nikku, Kulwinder Kally, Gurlej Akhtar, and Gurnman Bhullar.

Ambassador Kumaran also said that in India, families gather together, preparing sweet food, and lighting fireworks to celebrate Diwali. This makes this festival more colorful and fun for everyone.

“We also light lamps,” he said. “This is very important part which signifies the triumph of light over darkness.”

This is not the first time Diwali was celebrated in the Philippines and Ambassador Kumaran together with Manjinder Kumar, president of Filipino Indian Commerce & Welfare Society Inc. are looking forward to more colorful celebrations in the next year to come to have better exchange of culture and understanding among Indians and Filipinos.

“Our goal is to strengthen the dynamism of our vibrant Filipino Indian community in the Philippines by promoting and celebrating important festivities,” Kumaran said.