Nov 14, 2020

Health Ministry guidelines on celebrating Deepavali Featured

The Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs department has issued guidelines regarding holding Deepavali festival today (14).

The department has imposed several restrictions in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

R. Kargen, the Assistant Director of the department states that all ceremonies should be limited to the essential elements and should be conducted with the participation of a maximum number of five people as per the health instructions.

It also adds that all customs should be practised under the guidance of health authorities.

Mr.Kargen further stated that, “We recommended celebrating the festival at home without visiting friends and family and to greet their loved ones through telephone calls”.

Issuing a press release, the Ministry of Health advised the public to avoid spreading the infection to their loved ones in high-risk areas such as Colombo, Gampaha, and Kalutara by remaining at their residences instead of gathering.

“To preserve the good feelings the festival brings, the public must be vigilant that no Hindu devotees get infected with the virus during this festive season”, Secretary of the Ministry Viraj Abeysinghe said.

Meanwhile, Hindu devotees have also been advised not to light open flames after using hand sanitizers which contains highly flammable liquid.

Further, parties involving alcohol and cigarettes should not be held, the Ministry said.

Deepavali helps dispel darkness of ignorance - President

Hindu devotees across the globe light lamps and engage in religious observances with the expectation of dispelling darkness of ignorance and illuminating wisdom today, states President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a Deepavali Message.

The message:

"Deepavali festival is a renowned cultural celebration where the devotees extend wishes of enlightenment and share greetings with love and compassion. In my view, cultural festivals of this nature provide a great opportunity to build communal reconciliation and mutual understanding among the people and empower ethnic and religious harmony.At a time when the entire world is facing unprecedented difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such an opportunity to observe and celebrate one’s own religious beliefs is, indeed, a consolation. I believe Hindu devotees living in the country and overseas would jointly commit themselves to God to seek solace during this Deepavali festive season. I believe it would be a blessing for our objective to establish a righteous society and a healthy country. I wish all those who celebrate this festival of enlightenment would attain the inner peace they expect."

Deepavali reminds to dedicate ourselves to overcome challenges as a community

I would like to wish a very Happy Deepavali to all those celebrating the Festival of Lights in Sri Lanka and around the world. Lighting a lamp at this joyous occasion, symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance, states Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in a Deepavali Message.

The message:

"Deepavali is also a reminder that we must dedicate ourselves to overcome every challenge together as a community. It is through unity that we can defeat ignorance and ensure that compassion prevails in our heart. As a nation that defeated the evils of ignorance and separation time and time again, may the radiance of lamps lit, continue to bring peace and unity to our land.“As we strive to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic together, we must also strive to uplift each other and ensure our shared quest of a bright and peaceful future for Sri Lanka is realized. I wish all Hindu devotees in Sri Lanka and world over, a very happy, safe and peaceful Deepavali."