Diwali. The festival of Deepavali (in Sankrit) means ‘Row of Lights’. ‘Deepa’ … Diwali symbolises the victory of good over evil, brightness & darkness and the …
The festival of Deepavali (in Sankrit) means `Row of Lights’. `Deepa’ meaning Light and `Avali’ meaning Row but through the years, after the language of Sanskrit died down, it changed to Diwali. It is a celebration of life & a day used to strengthen relationships. It starts on the new moon day of the month of `Kartak’, comes exactly 20 days after Dusshera and the celebrations go on for five consecutive days.
Diwali symbolises the victory of good over evil, brightness & darkness and the lamps are lit as a sign of celebration and a hope for mankind. `Diwali rejoices the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman).’ It also celebrates the return of Lord Ram, King of Ayodhya, with his wife Sita & brother Lakshman, after their win in a war where Ravan was killed. It is believed that they lit oil lamps along the way to light their path in the darkness. Diwali is celebrated a day earlier in South India than in the North and this is because Rama travelled from the South to his kingdom in the North.
Why do we celebrate Diwali?
What do we do on Diwali?
Many families feel it is right to light the home with light symbolic diyas or kandils (colourful paper lanterns) as a part of Diwali decorations. They give gifts, and enjoy firework entertainment in the evening. They observe prayers throughout the day, get together with the family, wear new clothes, eat and make sweets. In South India, Diwali is not about New Year, as the South Indians follow a different calendar, known as the Shalivahana Calendar. In North India, business communities start their financial new year & new account books are opened on this day.
The five day Diwali celebrations begin with Dhanteras, a day which is fully dedicated to the worship of Laxmi. `Dhan’ means wealth, however our culture does not view wealth to be some sort of corruptive power. Infact, we believe that a wealthy person is rewarded for the good deeds from their past life. On this day, houses & business locations are renovated & decorated. The entrances are made colourful with the layout of traditional rangoli designs, to welcome Laxmiji, the Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity. Small footprints are also drawn with rice flour & vermillion to mark her first footsteps into the house. Many families choose to purchase some sort of gold or silver on this day, and `Laxmi Puja’ is performed in the evenings where tiny divas are lit to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. King Hima’s sixteen-year-old son was destined to die by snakebite on the fourth day of his marriage. On the fourth day, his wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid out ornaments & heaps of gold at the entrance of her husband’s chamber & lighted lamps all over the place. She spent the night telling stories & singing songs. When Yam, the God of Death arrived in the disguise of a serpent, his eyes were blinded by the sparkle of the lights & he could not enter the prince’s chamber. Instead, he climbed on top of the heap & sat there the whole night listening to the songs. In the morning, he went away & it was on that night that her husband was
Day One: Dhanteras