Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (or deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.
Diwali, celebrated in October or November each year, originated as a harvest festival that marked the last harvest of the year before winter. India was an agricultural society where people would seek the divine blessing of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, as they closed their accounting books and prayed for success at the outset of a new financial year. Today, this practice extends to businesses all over the Indian subcontinent, which mark the day after Diwali as the first day of the new financial year.
Indians celebrate with family gatherings, glittering clay lamps, festive fireworks, strings of electric lights, bonfires, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship to Lakshmi. Some believe that Lakshmi wanders the Earth looking for homes where she will be welcomed. People open their doors and windows and light lamps to invite Lakshmi in.
Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith: Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs.
Hindus interpret the Diwali story based upon where they live:
- In North India they celebrate the story of King Rama's return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps.
- South India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
- In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
In all interpretations, one common thread rings true—the festival marks the victory of good over evil.
Non-Hindu communities have other reasons for celebrating the holiday:
- In Jainism, it marks the nirvana or spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira in Oct. 15, 527 B.C.
- In Sikhism it marks the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru was freed from imprisonment.
Five Days of Diwali
On the first day of Diwali, housewives consider it auspicious to spring clean the home and shop for gold or kitchen utensils.
On the second day, people decorate their homes with clay lamps or diyas and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
This is the main day of the festival when families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.
This is the first day of the new year when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
On the last day of Diwali, brothers visit their married sisters who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.
YAY! I was preparing the same post! HAPPY DIWALI
Today is a festival-of-lights holiday for many sects of Indian-derived religious traditions (Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, some Buddhisms) and is a national and cultural holiday in India and Nepal.
It celebrates the victory of good over evil and the removal of spiritual darkness (e.g., Rama's post-exile return after his victory over Ravana [Hinduism]; the victory of Krishna over Narakasura [Hinduism]; the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira [Jainism]; and the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji [Sikhism]).
Closing schools for religious holidays
Can be problematic
Adding religious holidays to the school calendar is a slippery slope.
Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to close schools on two Muslim holidays â Eid-Ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan) and Eid-Ul-Adha (end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca) â and the Lunar New Year, an important holiday for many Asian communities.
Right out of the box, the Association of Indian-Americans expressed great disappointment that Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in India and other South Asian countries, didnât make the list
Diwali (also spelled Devali in certain regions) or Deepavali, popularly known as the "festival of lights," is a five day festival which starts on Dhanteras (Dhantrayodashi), celebrated on thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month Ashwin and ends on Bhaubeej, celebrated on second lunar day of Shukla paksha (bright fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month Kartik. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji
Happy Diwali, Divali, or Deepawali
Diwali, Divali, or Deepawali, (also called Tihar and Swanti in Nepal) (Markiscarali) is a major Indian and Nepalese festive holiday.
What started as a harvest festival in ancient times, became associated with many legends and became a significant festival in Hinduism and some of the other faiths which originated in India - Jainism and Sikhism. Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Light," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being. The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists of Nepal, particularly the Newar Buddhists.
Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan Friends Again? Indian Superstars Hug Each .. — International Business Times UK
Both the Khans of Bollywood are preparing for a fierce box office battle as Salman's movie Kick will release during Eid and SRK's comedy drama Happy New Year will premiere during Diwali, the Indian festival of lights.