Diwali is the most auspicious (favorable) Hindu festival celebrated all across India. The celebration is also denoted to as the festival of lights, due to the use of lamps or diya as they are called in India. Diwali ( Deepavali , Hindi name ) marks the good over evil, signifies a new beginning and wishes to bring a prosperous new year to all. This is the start of a new year in Hindu calendar. Diwali is celebrated in October or November, based on the dates from the Hindu calendar. For 2016, Diwali falls on October 31.
History of Diwali:
Rama ( Ram as pronounced in Hindi ) was a legendary king of Ayodhya in ancient
India. Rama is one of the avatars of Vishu, a Hindu God, who took a human form to
Destroy or put and end to evil present on the earth. Ramayana, a popular epic details the life of Rama.
Rama killed Ravana:
The story progresses around Rama, who was exiled for 14 years from his kingdom and
forced to live in a forest. He was accompanied by his wife, Sita and his younger brother,
Laxman. During this period, Ravana king of Lanka, kidnapped Sita. This resulted in a
war between the two kings. Ravana represented the evil side whereas Rama
represented the good side. Rama cut off the head of Ravana in the war, thus signifying victory of good over evil and returned to his kingdom, Ayodhya. This return date marks the celebration of Diwali, where residents of the kingdom rejoiced their prince coming back to their heartland with lights all around.
Different parts of India have other tales associated with Diwali, the most significant
being the return of Rama.
They say that a portion of Rama and Ravana are present in every human being.
Triumph of good over evil is the true path of enlightenment for a human.
How Many Days Diwali Festival is Celebrated:
Diwali spans a week long of celebration than just a single day. This celebration
comprises of Vasu baras ( worship the cows ), Dhan teras ( day to buy gold ),
Chaturdashi ( small Diwali ) , Laxmi Puja on Diwali ( worship goddess of wealth ) and
Bhaiduj ( day when brothers and sisters meet).
Each of the above events has its associated traditions that follow with it. Hinduism
believes in love for all, showing affection for cows (sacred to Hinduism) and towards
family during this festival.
Celebration on the Day of Diwali:
On the day of Diwali, there is great enthusiasm in the air. All family members get up
early in the morning to prepare for the occasion. Women usually prepare good
delicacies for the day. They also decorate the house with flowers and lighting for the
day. A unique drawing with colors is often made outside the house. This is known as
rangoli. Often it is very creative and made out of bare hands.
Men head out for their work. Even though, it is a national holiday, everyone visits their
workplace on this day. Everyone at the workplace offer prayers to the Lord for a good
year and distribute sweets amongst themselves. Yearly bonuses from employers are
also dispersed on this day.
Preparations of Diwali:
In the evening, family and relatives get together to carry out the traditional rituals at their
home. This is a main event of the Diwali festival. The house is lit up with earthen oil
lamps (diyas) just before the start of this ceremony. It looks spectacular to see every
house lit up with these lamps. They worship Goddess Laxmi ( creator of wealth and
prosperity ), Goddess Saraswati ( creator of knowledge ) and Lord Ganesh ( remover of
obstacles ) in this ritual. Holy songs are enchanted by all members. After the prayer is
complete, elders often give out money as a token of love and care to youngsters. In
turn, youngsters touch their feet showing respect towards them.
This is often an enthralling time for children. They are free now to go and burst crackers.
Fireworks is a must-have occasion for this festival. All over the city, the sky is lit up with
fireworks. The view is just spectacular. Laws are a bit relaxed on this day, so anyone
can burn fireworks. However, loud noise often accompanies these fireworks, but most
people don’t mind it for a day. Family and relatives then have dinner together, which
often consists of very good delicacies.
The next day early in the morning, people visit their neighbors, friends and a lot of
distant relatives to mark the beginning of a new year. Often this is for a short duration
and people share sweets when visiting each other. The reason it is for a short duration
is that families in India are usually very big and visiting everyone usually takes a lot of
It is hard to describe the details about every religion in India celebrating this occasion,
due to presence of different regions across India, but the overall essence remains the
How Diwali is Celebrated Around the World:
Diwali is now just not limited to India itself. It is celebrated by Indians living abroad in
many parts of the world. The most prominent celebration being at the White House. San
Antonio city does host fireworks display during Diwali.