Newcastle’s own ‘house of many lights’

For the members of the Hindu community, Diwali is one of the biggest and grandest celebrations of the year.

Traditionally celebrated over a period of five days in India, Diwali in South Africa is celebrated on the darkest night of the year when the beauty and mystery of lights can be experienced in a special way.

In the Hindu tradition, light is a symbol of God and truth, therefore it is known as the Festival of Lights.

In Newcastle, Number 1 Hathorn Street has customarily become a literal beacon of light during Diwali, with owner, Ronnie Naidoo starting the tradition almost 16 years ago at his former home on Centre Street, Lennoxton.

Over the years, many Newcastillians have travelled across town to witness this spectacular light display.

According to Naidoo, the idea to adorn his home stemmed from a visit to Durban, where Diwali celebrations
included not only traditional clay lamps but also fairy lights and other fancy fixtures:

“I wanted to bring the Durban atmosphere to Newcastle.”

Naidoo generally orders his lights from Durban and other suppliers in the area who specialise in lighting.

Aside from the majestic palace-themed look of the house, Naidoo also indulged his family and spectators with a vibrant fireworks display to conclude a festive night of celebration. Keeping safety in mind at all times, he took the necessary steps of organising a traffic official to patrol the area, and has engaged a qualified paramedic to be on standby.

When asked how the lights affected his municipal account, Naidoo smirked and emphasised he indulged himself only once a year. “I believe you need to pay for what you use.”

With the glitz and glamour of the lights aside, Naidoo claimed the main attraction was the symbolism of celebrating Diwali with his family and friends.

“It is one of our biggest celebrations and I enjoy spending it with family,” he concluded.

Newcastillians can expect an even grander light show this year.

Residents can go see the light display anytime between now and Sunday.

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  AUTHOR
Tersia Gopi

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