Diwali: It’s time to celebrate! – The Festival of Lights… This festival is celebrated as the arrival of Lord Rama with Sita and Laxmana after a long exile of 14 years. Translated literally from Sanskrit, Diwali means a row of lights; diyas were first lit by the people of Ayodhya to welcome their King, Rama, after defeating Ravana (King of Lanka who had kidnapped Sita).
Many people in India also believe that it is to be the celebration of the marriage of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi. In most of the areas, Lord Ganesha, who is the god of wisdom and auspiciousness is worshiped on the day of Diwali.
To honor and rejoice the homecoming of their king, the folks of his kingdom lit his path with oil lamps to guide him on his approach. Therefore, began the tradition of decorating homes and public areas with earthenware oil lamps (diyas). This is done to mark the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. Diwali or Deepawali which suggests ‘rows of lights/lamps – A five day celebration.
As a kid, this was my favorite time of the year. Eid and Diwali followed by Christmas and the New Year – a two-three-month long party for a youngster desperate for reasons to celebrate.
Diwali, the festival of lights is the most famous festival in India which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the world. Celebrating the victory of good over evil. This festival also gives chance to people to move on, let go of past grudges, and make merry. A time to revel in the company of loved ones, dress up in attire and gorge on delightful dishes ready for the event. For wimps like yours truly, it’s a time to behold (never light) with childlike admiration, the colorful fireworks that dazzle the night sky and turn it into a kaleidoscope of myriad hues.
Diwali is also a period for reflection, a time to re-visit and judge neutrally, one’s thoughts, actions and words and to rid of oneself of the darkness and negativity that dwells inside.
For the uninitiated, the importance of this festival has been elaborated below.
This day is considered an auspicious day for wholesalers to shop for their books of accounts. At the moment marks the commencement of the new financial year for some business communities. It is also viewed as an auspicious day for buying gold, silver or steel.
This day remembers the victory of Lord Krishna and Satyabhama, his wife, over the demon, Narakasura. People wake up as early as 3:00 Am on Naraka Chaturdashi. The bathing process followed on this day is rather difficult and decorative. Females bath with utan (mix of Ayurvedic herbs) and scented oils. Sounds of firecrackers fill the air by 4:00 am and stop only after sunrise. This day is spent with your close or loved ones like neighbors, relatives and friends. Also you can exchange gifts and sweets with each other.
The evening puja/arti on this day pays respect to the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Lakshmi and devotees seek her blessings. On this day it is essential to keep the house perfectly clean during Diwali. As the goddess said to only visit and bless houses that are neat and clean. Flowers, lamps, colorful rangolis (designs made of colored powder etched on the floor), wonderful decorative patterns, adorn the doorways of homes.
This day rejoices the bond between husband and wife. Wives pray for his or her husband ‘s longevity. It’s customary for a husband to indulge his partner with gifts.
Bhai Dooj/Bhau Beej
This day symbolizes the love between a brother and sister. A time for family reunions when cousins get together to celebrate the day with cheerfulness and unlimited enthusiasm. Women pray for the well-being and prosperity of their brothers. Men vow to protect their sisters and shower them with presents.
The sights and sounds of Diwali, the love, companionship and decent cheer that pervades the atmosphere. This also diminishes sorrows and manages to rekindle hope within the hearts of even the foremost seasoned cynics. Diwali is a celebration of life and all the good that it has to offer. It is a time for devotedness and bonding.
As lamps and fireworks illuminate totally different corners of the world tonight. I pray that the light brightens up not only your homes but also fill your hearts with joy and many new hopes.