NATION

Making Diya For Over Three Decades

Qawa Primary School head teacher Mahendra Pratap enjoys travelling back in time to his boyhood days in Tagnikula in the province of Macuata. The special Festival of Lights brings back
31 Oct 2016 11:00
Making Diya For Over Three Decades
Mahendra Pratap moulding clay to make Diya for Diwali in Labasa yesterday. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

Qawa Primary School head teacher Mahendra Pratap enjoys travelling back in time to his boyhood days in Tagnikula in the province of Macuata.

The special Festival of Lights brings back fond memories that allows the 54-year-old annually to take a pilgrim back to his ancestral village away from his Salusalu Street residence in Labasa.

Mr Pratap is one of those few people who have continued to use handmade traditional earthen lamps (diya) for Diwali.

The father of two said he did not want to stray from his roots after starting to make diya from the age of nine.

“There is a special clay in my village which is still available in abundance and free of charge,” Mr Pratap said.

“I can still recall during my childhood days, few weeks before Diwali everyone would stir up to make hundreds of diya with cotton wool dipped in homemade oil to light up their homes.

“That time there was nothing like candles and electrical lights used for decorations because we lived very far away from the town.”

He said the tradition had been handed down from his parents and he would like it to be passed on to his descendants.

“I have continued with the tradition of making diya,” he said.

“I went to my village to get the clay, mixed it with water and moulded about ten diya and a few water vessels.

“I did not give up my tradition because I want my two children to learn and continue.

“Also I feel happy to make diya because it is only once in a year I get to do what I like as it reminds me of fond memories of Diwali celebration.

“I hope the younger generation now can show interest in making and using traditional earthen lamps for Diwali.”

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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