Diwali is India’s biggest and one of the most important festivals of the year. It is also celebrated by many across the world.
Diwali is the celebration of Lord Rama returning home after 14 years from exile, having rescued his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. Ravana had kidnapped Sita and carried her away, but Rama found them and defeated Ravana by shooting him with a golden arrow. Their path back to Ayodhya was lit by millions of tiny lamps to guide them, thus, the festival of lights.
The festival is known all around the world as one of the most exciting and colorful festivals. Prosperity, togetherness, celebrations, and compassion are the main characteristics of this five-day celebration. Diwali, which for some also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.
Diwali is celebrated differently from one state of India to the next. The North and the South have varied reasons for this celebration, resulting in different traditions and rituals. Despite this, you can be sure to see all the houses, shops, and streets filled with lights, bright colors, and decor. People are filled with happiness and they think about how to be the best version of themselves. In Spite of the pandemic, this festival will always be celebrated with a great spirit and enthusiasm.
This year, Diwali takes on a special significance, with many people spending more time apart from their families than they would like. Celebrating the triumph of light over dark, and good over evil, in a year where the pandemic has been at the front of everyone’s mind, is especially important.
Diwali is a time for engaging in acts of service at the start of the new year, so this year will see extra acts of goodwill and danya, in the wake of the pandemic. While some larger gatherings will still be on hold, many celebrations will still take place, just on a smaller scale.
This 5 days of festival gives everyone the opportunity to live, love, and laugh with all the near and dear ones. On the first night, people will traditionally clean their homes in preparation for the festival. On the second day, people usually wake early, bathe and wear new clothes.
The festival’s peak is the third night. Each of the five nights is dedicated to a different deity, but Diwali Night also marks the darkest night of the lunar month. It’s on this night that Sita, as the goddess Lakshmi, is said to visit every home, so families light candles and lamps to show her the way. Lakshmi’s visit is said to bring prosperity, fertility, and good fortune. The third night of Diwali sees firework displays in Lakshmi’s honour, and rangoli decorate the floors to welcome her in.
The fourth day is to celebrate Lord Krishna defeating Indra, and people will mark it by creating their own ‘mountains’. The final day is for feasting, and sisters will perform a “tilak’ for their brothers, praying for longevity and happiness. In return for these prayers, brothers will give additional gifts to their sisters.
Throughout the week, families and friends visit each other to celebrate with meals and gifts. A feast is part of the tradition, as well as gifting Indian sweets including kaju katli, gulab jamun, and motichoor ladoo. Many households will cook snacks and sweets to be ready for any visitors, as well as the main feasting event!
The very essence of Diwali is to bring light in, to experience the triumph of good over evil forces. The Festival of Lights does just that: It lights up the homes and hearts of communities all over the world. It celebrates everything that is good, kind and positive. It is also a time to share with those in need and give freely to members of the community who have little.
Commemorating the victory of good over evil, it is also an opportunity for people to move on, let go of past grudges, and make merry.
May Diwali bring you luck, Joy, happiness and success. We wish you a very happy, prosperous and safe Diwali!