Diwali is celebrated in India and it is the festival lights. To a Hindu, this is the most important festival of the year just like Christmas is for Christians. Each household will light clay lamps around their house which symbolizes the protection against spiritual darkness.
Diwali is the one time that the whole city is lite by using clay candles and it is said that you can see Indian from space. Today, it is celebrated by many faiths and become more of a national holiday than specific to the Hindu’s.
Originally, it was celebrated as a harvest festival which marked the last harvest before winter, for this reason. People seek the blessings from Lakshmi- the Goddess of wealth as they were closing off their financial books for the year and beginning their new fiscal year the next day. You can almost say that Diwali is also like New Years for the Hindu’s.
Diwali has always been celebrated at the end of October and beginning of November. For people living in North America, that is perfect timing as it always coincides with Halloween and makes celebrating easier and extend their celebrations. This year Diwali is on October 30, 2016. Without a family gathering, clay lamps, fireworks, strings of electric lights, sharing of sweets, flowers and the worship of Lakshmi there is not celebration.
It is said that Lakshmi wanders the earth that night looking to enter houses where she welcomed and in order for her to do that all the doors and windows must be open along with lit lamps to invite her in. Are you being blessed this year by Lakshmi’s presence?
Depending on what region of India you are from you have a different interpretation of the story of Diwali.
- Northern Indian- where Ram had defeated Ravan in Ayodhya by lighting a row of clay lamps
- Southern India- where Lord Krishna (one of the many names of Vishnu) defeated Narakasura’s demon
- Western India- where Lord Vishnu (the Preserver and Protector of the Universe) sent King Bali’s demon to rule the netherworld
- Southern India- where the Goddess Parvathi Killed Bakrasura by taking the form of Kali (Goddess of the Mother Universe and protector) and saved the world
No matter the region, the common thread of Diwali is that it celebrates the victory of good vs evil.
Five Days of Diwali
There are five days to Diwali each day is celebrated differently with different meanings.
- Day 1- great time for spring cleaning the house, utensils and your place of business
- Day 2- people decorate their homes with clay lamps and decorate the floor with a rangoli (a pattern on the floor using coloured powder or sand)
- Day 3- is the main day where families gather, Lakshmi prayer is performed (puja), a feast and fireworks
- Day 4- marks the first day of the New Year and this where gifts are exchanged with blessing for the year
- Day 5- brothers visit their married sister where they are welcomed with a lavish meal and love.
Come by the An Indian Affair this Diwali and celebrate with your family and our family. We wish you a very Happy and Safe Diwali.
What region’s story resonates with you?
How are you going to celebrate Diwali?
By Fatima Sumar