Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Happy Diwali to all my dearest friends and their families

Diwali is one of the leading Indian festivals and is normally associated with believers of Sikhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The fete normally happens between October and November. Diwali is also referred to as the festival of lights. The significance of Diwali is symbolized by the use of diya, small oil lamps whose light shows the triumph of light over evil.

Different sections of the Indian population have different sections that inspire them to celebrate Diwali. A good number of them consider Diwali as the “Festival of Lights”. For them the celebration of Diwali represents an occasion to thank the gods for a wonderful harvest.

Apart from farmers, business people, workers and everyone also use this opportunity to thank their gods for continuously blessing them. It is no coincidence therefore that Lakshmi, who many Indians consider the goddess of wealth, is worshipped as people turn out in their millions to honor and worship her. Because Diwali comes at the end of the traditional Hindu year, many of them pray to Lakshmi for a prosperous year ahead. This is because they believe her intervention will be crucial hence the Diwali festival.

In Jainism Diwali is used interchangeably with the term Deepvali. The Jains believe Lord Mahavira was born on this day.

This is said to have happened thousands of years ago on the fifteenth day of October. It is no wonder then that the Jains observe their Diwali around this date every year. On the other hand the Sikh relate the day with an event when their Supreme Leader, Sikh Hargobind was set free from prison along with several of his followers. This is a very fundamental occurrence in Sikhism and is considered with much reverence.

North Indians consider Diwali as the day when their king, Rama of Ahodhya is said to have returned from fourteen years of exile in the forest. The people in Aodhya prepared a grand entrance for their long lost king by lighting small oil lamps called ‘deepa’ arranged in lighting rows known as ‘vali’ thus giving rise to the name Deepvali a short form of which is Diwali. The southerners contend that Diwali is the day when Lord Krishna eventually overcame the demon, Narakasura. In Western India Diwali is celebrated as the day when King Bali was installed to reign as the king of the netherworld on orders from Vishnu. Apart from Jains, Sikhs and Hindus who associate Diwali with some form of religious significance, other Indians mark it as a cultural festival.

Indians from all occupations today celebrate Diwali with a lot of pomp and colour. They use plenty of crackers, fireworks and exchange plenty of gifts and sweets. It is celebrated as a national festival of lights. Diyas, or small oil lamps lit in the streets or homes are specially decorated for the occasion. Some of these diya are decorated using lakshmi and ganesha. Pooja is a ritual performed to elicit blessings from the “goddess of wealth”. Other traditions observed are those of Rangoli where houses as well as easting spots are specially decorated.


Happy Diwali to all My dearest friends : )

Regards,
Avinash Singh



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