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DIWALI –THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Young Bites. Dated: 11/7/2018 11:18:44 AM


Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important festival of the year. The festival gets its name from the row of clay lamps that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith.
Diwali or Deepavali, which is the festival of light indicates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. It falls on the day of ‘amavasya’ or new moon in the Hindu month of Kartik.
Diwali or Deepavali is a Hindu festival of lights, which is celebrated every autumn in the northern hemisphere One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.During the celebration, temples, homes, shops and office buildings are brightly illuminated. The preparations, and rituals, for the festival typically last five days, with the climax occurring on the third day coinciding with the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, the festival generally falls between mid-October and mid-November.
In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces. During the climax, revellers adorn themselves in their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas (oil lamps or candles), offer puja (worship) to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth,light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared. Diwali is also a major cultural event for the Hindu and Jain diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.
The names of the festive days of Diwali, as well as the rituals, vary by region. Diwali is usually celebrated eighteen days after the Dussehra festival with Dhanteras, or the regional equivalent, marking the first day of the festival when celebrants prepare by cleaning their homes and making decorations on the floor, such as rangoli. The second day is Choti Diwali, or equivalent in north India, while for Hindus in the south of India it is Diwali proper. Western, central, eastern and northern Indian communities observe Diwali on the third day and the darkest night of the traditional month. In some parts of India, the day after Diwali is marked with the Govardhan Puja and Diwali Padva, which is dedicated to the relationship between wife and husband. Some Hindu communities mark the last day as BhaiDooj, which is dedicated to the bond between sister and brother, while other Hindu and Sikh craftsmen communities mark this day as Vishwakarma Puja and observe it by performing maintenance in their work spaces and offering prayers.
Deepavali falls on the day of Amavasya or the no moon night during the month of Ashwin of the Hindu calendar.In the late evening when it becomes dark, lamps are lit to illuminate and brighten up everything around.Rows of clay lamps are lighted for decoration and to illuminate the night. The lamps are said to ward off the evil forces and signifies the triumph of the good over evil power. Even the poorest of homes light some lamps to celebrate this day. People light firecrackers which add to the light and color of the night. Beautiful multi colored Rangoli and floral decorations beautify the houses. The glamour and shimmer all around the country fulfills the significance of the festival.People wear new clothes and distribute sweets among the friends and relatives. The jubilation continues for five days. Deepavali is declared as a holiday so that people can enjoy the day to the fullest. Lights, fireworks, and colors make the night of Diwali a memorable one. The shops worship goddess Laxmi along with Lord Ganesha. People await eagerly every year for Deepavali to celebrate with great enjoyment and fan fare.
Diwali, the festival of lights is indeed the most awaited and the most celebrated festivals of India. People in every nook and cranny of the country welcome the festival with enthusiastic gestures.On the third day of the celebratory occasion, the key rituals of the Diwali festival take place. Lighting of Diyas and candles all around the house, worshipping the LaxmiGanesha to summon health and wealth and bursting crackers are the chief rituals of the festival. The Diwali festival marks the beginning of a new year in the Hindu calendar in India. It celebrates the return of Lord Ram from his fourteen years of exile in the forests after defeating the ten-headed King Ravana who had abducted his wife Sita. Hanuman (the monkey god) and Laxman (Ram’s younger brother) are other important characters in Ramayana, the ancient epic poem about Ram, Sita and righteousness. It is called the festival of lights because it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair. Hindus basically light up the night on this joyful celebration.Diwali is celebrated by Hindus all over the country and in almost all states.Diwali is the most important day where families and friends come together, exchange gifts and lit up diyas, small oil lamps that last for the whole night. Later at night, people go out onto the streets and light the fireworks and crackers to celebrate New Years Eve. Goa has a crazy Diwali gambling scene and a special tradition of burning effigies of the demon Narakasura. Amritsar, although essentially Sikh, is known for its Diwali celebrations, especially at the Golden Temple.Diyas and firecrackers are everywhere, so be careful with your clothes catching fire (especially girls wearing ‘dupattas’ or Indian scarves). It’s also a good idea to wear ear plugs in India during the Diwali festival, especially if your ears are sensitive. Some crackers are extremely loud, and sound more like explosions. The noise can be very damaging to your hearing. There’s also a lot of smoke in the air which may make it hard and difficult to breathe. Don’t keep your face too close while lighting fireworks and make a run for it once you light them. Children must be supervised! We hope you all have a safe and happy Diwali!
On the first day of the festival people pray, eat a special breakfast consisting of different foods, and the Hindu goddess Lakshmi’s statue is carried throughout the streets in procession.
Millions of Hindus around the world celebrate Diwali with gift exchanges, fireworks and festive meals. The Diwali celebration in India takes place when the monsoon season ends and the weather is mild and pleasant. People try to pay off their old debts, make or buy new clothes and thoroughly clean their houses as part of the festival preparations. House exteriors are whitewashed and sometimes decorated with designs drawn in white rice flour and filled in with color. Buildings are traditionally illuminated with oil-burning bowls called dipa lights, or more recently, with strings of artificial lights. People spend time with their friends and family.Diwali is called the Festival of Lights and is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu).

 

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