It’s that time of the year all over again! The weather has changed and the lights have come out, homes are being scrubbed clean, decorations are in place all over, rich glow of diyas at homes, institutions and entire neighborhoods are evident, special counters and pandals have been set up outside sweet and confectionery shops, markets are flooded with a wide choice of people indulged in buying new stuffs, this really makes it obvious as one of the most prominent festivals in Hindu culture – ‘Diwali’, The Festival of Lights, with much fanfare throughout various communities in the Indian diaspora is in the Air!
Colloquially as enlightened to be the “festival of lights”, it is the celebration when homes, institutions, offices, streets and entire surroundings wears a dazzling sheet of candles, small earthen oil lamps, fairy lights on this auspicious moonless night.
People light ‘diyas’ –and place them inside their homes, and elaborately decorate the exteriors with electric lights followed by a huge accomplishment of impressive fireworks display. In addition to diyas, people celebrating Diwali often get into, colorful displays using traditional designs, with bells, flowers, mirrors, and other ceremonial objects to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity into their homes. People buy new clothing, and also make or buy sweets and dried fruits to share with family and friends to honor the occasion. Diwali is also a time to offer charity to those in need. Apart from being a festival of lights, this festival is also about sharing our good fortunes with those we care about.
This beautiful festival focuses on the triumph of how good (light) wins over evil (darkness), and generally falls around the end of October, this year on October 30th. It commemorates the killing of Ravana by Lord Rama. The symbolism behind this practice seeks to dispel the darkness of ignorance with the light of wisdom. It also foretells of fresh beginnings as we open new checkbooks and diaries as well as clean our homes. Whoever said that after every dark night, comes a new dawn was surely right on the money!