Govt Issues Clarification on Monday’s Diwali Public Holiday
The Ministry of the Interior has denied reports that it declared Monday, October 24, a public holiday.
According to Ministry officials, outgoing CS Fred Matiang’i did not gazette the holiday to allow Kenyans to celebrate the Diwali festival.
An official told Kenyans.co.ke that the holiday was unlikely to be gazetted.
“It is highly unlikely that it will be gazetted as the event was not celebrated in the previous years,” the officials stated.
Kenyans were also urged to disregard social media reports and continue with their normal work duties.
“It will be a normal workday. The government won’t gazette it as a public holiday,” another official told the Standard.
Reports on the alleged Monday holiday began to circulate on social media after the government issued regulations governing the use of fireworks during the festivities.
“This is to inform the general public that Diwali and Hindu New Year celebrations will be held during the period between October 22 and 24. These festivities are traditionally celebrated with fireworks in authorised venues,” Energy CS, Monica Juma stated on Thursday, October 20.
“Consequently, the Hindu community is requested to ensure that fireworks displays are carried out within the requirements of the Explosives Act, Cap 115 of the Laws of Kenya,” Juma added.
This was not the first time that false information about public holidays circulated.
Last year, the government was forced to distance itself from a widely circulated fake gazette notice.
Diwali, also known as Deepawali, is known as the “festival of lights” and is celebrated on October 24 this year.
The five-day holiday is observed by millions of Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs worldwide. This festival gets its name from the words ‘avali,’ which means ‘row,’ and ‘deepa,’ which means ‘clay lamps.’
When these words are combined, they mean ‘a row of lights.’
As a result, lights are symbolic of this festival, and Indians go overboard with sparklers and fireworks to fuel the inner light that protects them spiritually from the darkness.
The beauty of Diwali is that it is not restricted to commemorating a single historical event.
Each religion has its own set of stories and historical events. Hindus celebrate the return of their religious deities Sita and Rama to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile.
It is also celebrated on the day when Goddess Mother Durga defeated the demon Mahisha.
The festival of lights also commemorates Lord Vishnu’s seventh incarnation, Ramachandra.
Sikhs also commemorate the release from prison of their sixth guru, Hargobind Singh, in 1619.
Surprisingly, the foundation stone of the holiest place for Sikhs, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, was laid on Diwali in 1577.
For Jains, Diwali marks the day when Lord Mahavira, the founder of their religion, Jainism, attained Nirvana or Moksha.
Diwali, regardless of the events or religion surrounding it, brings good cheer and the promise of a better tomorrow.
People zealously light lamps in their homes and throw lavish feasts to commemorate happiness, good fortune, and good times.
Diwali is associated with purity, cleanliness, and brightness. On this day, the new harvest and fiscal year beginning in the business community.
Diwali celebrations last five days. As a sign of good fortune, people clean their homes and purchase kitchen utensils or gold on the first day.
The second day includes colorful decorations and clay lamps.
The third day of Diwali, the main day, brings families together for Lakshmi pooja, during which they praise the Goddess Lakshmi and host lavish dinners.
The celebrations continue on days four and five, with the exchange of gifts and the welcoming of family and friends into homes.