Caption: Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar. File photo.
The Consumer Council of Fiji has expressed grave concern over the commercialization of the festival of lights, Diwali, in recent weeks.
The Council’s concern comes in light of ongoing advertisements of meat products as part of Diwali special sale.
This is over-commercialization of a religious festival and this could be a highly insensitive issue or border on being ‘offensive’ as Diwali is an auspicious Hindu festival.
Religious festivals are times to celebrate and enjoy the true meaning of its significance and value – and not to maximize financial gains.
The Council has noted on several occasions in the past few weeks where certain business houses have placed advertisements of frozen chicken, sausage, tinned mutton and other non-vegetarian items on their Diwali specials list.
The Council seeks to clarify that it is not against meat items going on specials but is calling on the business houses to be more sensitive about the religious meanings attached to the festivals, while preparing their concepts for advertisements.
In Fiji, common practice is that most Hindus go on a strict vegetarian diet few weeks ahead of the festival, as part of the religious observance.
The Council views that all religious festivals carry values and virtues and commercialization of such festivals steals away the real meaning of the occasion – that basic meaning is eroded and everyone engaged is thinking , “What am I going to get on this festival?”
Our children are the worst affected because when it comes to these festivals – all they can associate with it is presents, crackers and other goodies – which means, parents have to dig deeper into their pockets.
The Council is not anti business but against bad business – consumers have to be just wise and cautious as they enjoy the festivity – be prudent when shopping.