Diwali is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus. Diwali translates to “row of lights.” It is often referred to as the festival of lights. Many countries count Diwali as an official holiday, including India, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Myanmar, Guyana, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Let’s look at the symbolism behind the reason for why is Diwali celebrated.
In the Hindu religion, Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. We can also look at it as the victory of good over evil. Celebrations include lighting millions of lights throughout communities. People fill up their homes, workspaces and temples with candles and lamps. There are also usually firework displays.
Diwali typically lasts for 5 days as people perform a number of preparations and rituals. The most important night of the festival is timed to occur with the night of the new moon. Diwali therefore falls between mid-October and mid-November. Autumn in the Northern hemisphere and spring in the Southern hemisphere.
Preparation and rituals
Part of the preparation for Diwali includes the cleaning and decorating of homes and offices. Prayer is also an important aspect. People dress up in their best clothes on the most important night. Many people will buy a new outfit for Diwali night. Indeed, Diwali is an important shopping time of the year for many Hindus.
The lighting of diyas, typically lamps or candles, is the most well-known aspect of the holiday. A big feast is also held and family members will often exchange gifts. Sweets and candy are particularly popular gifts to give. It is known as one of the happiest holidays in the Hindu religion. Many experience Diwali as a time for reflection and to take stock of all to be grateful for.
Diwali has deep roots in the Hindu religion. A number of stories involving various gods and goddesses center around the time of Diwali. For example, it is recognized as the goddess Lakshmi’s birthday. Praying to Lakshmi during Diwali is important. The celebration also recognizes when Vishnu rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali. As well as when Krishna killed Narakaasur and freed many female captives.
Two other legends largely feature in the origins of Diwali. The Victory of Rama and The Return of the Pandavas. Both of these stories deal with heroes returning home and being welcomed back joyfully. The people of the cities illuminated millions of earthen lamps to mark the homecomings.