September 7, 2011 Leave a comment
Deepawali or Diwali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It’s the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that’s marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.
Celebrating Diwali in India
Diwali is a five day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It honors the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. It also marks the start of winter. Diwali is actually celebrated in honor of Lord Rama and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom of Ayodhya, following Rama and monkey god Hanuman’s defeat the demon King Ravana and rescue of Sita from his evil clutches (celebrated on Dussehra).
When is Diwali Celebrated:
In October or November, depending on the cycle of the moon. In 2011, Diwali starts with Dhanteras on October 24. Each day of the festival has a different meaning. The main festivities take place on the third day (this year, on October 26), while the the fourth day is celebrated as new year’s day. Merchants open fresh accounts for the new year, and offer prayers. On the fifth and last day, brothers and sisters get together and share food, to honor the bond between them.