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BEAUTIFUL FESTIVAL DIWALI : Happy Diwali 2021

 What is Diwali?

Diwali, or Deepavali, is one of the biggest Indian festivals and also a major occassion in Nepal. The festival has great religious significance for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and the Nepalese. In India, Diwali is now considered to be more of a national festival, and is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith. It is commonly celebrated by decorating homes with lamps and candles, bursting offire crackersand sparklers, eating sweets and other mouthwatering dishes, praying to Gods and Goddesses, observing religious rituals, wearing new dressesand sending wishes and gifts to one another.

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When is Diwali?

Though the number of days of the celebration of the festival differ with different communities, the actual days of observance of Diwali are common and fall on exactly the same set of days across Nepal and India. Going bythe Gregoriancalendar, Diwali in India is observed generally in the months of October or November. The festival comes exactly twenty days after Dussehra, another sacred Hindu occassion, and is celebrated for five consecutive days at the end of Hindu month of Ashvin. 


What does Diwali mean?


The word "Divali/Diwali" is a variation of the Sanskrit word "Deepavali" which means "a continuous line of lamps" (The word 'Deep' means "light", and 'avali' means "a continuous line"). Thus, Diwali is the time to celebrate with lights.


Hindus and Sikhs alike regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and socialrelationships. One of the most important Hindufestivals, Diwali marks the beginning of a new year in some Hindu calendars. For Hindus, the festival is not only the time to make merry but also the time to worship divine beings considered sacred in Hinduism like Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Mahabali. It is also a significant festival for the Sikh faith. For Jains, it is an occasion to remember Lord Mahavira. In Nepal, Diwali is celebrated by many Buddhists as Tihar or Swanti.


Why is Diwali called the "Festival of Lights"?


Diwali is known as the "Festival of Lights". This is probably because of the manner in which it is observed. The festival is traditionally celebrated with activities like bursting crackers, lighting rows of candles and diyas (earthen lamps) aroundindividualhomes, holding dazzling fireworks display and igniting colourful sparklers.


What happened during Diwali?


Known as the "Festival of Lights," Diwali commemorates the time when the Lord Rama returned to his hometown Ayodhya after defeating the evil demon king of Lanka, Ravana. Lord Rama was the king of Ayodhya who had, by his father's orders, went away from his country to live in the forest for fourteen years. But the people of Ayodhya loved their king very much and waited for years to meet with him again. And so, when news of Lord Rama's return came to them again, the people of Ayodhya, in the honour of their king and to celebrate his victory, burst crackers, lit up their houses with earthen lamps (diyas), and decorated the entire city in the grandest manner. Year after year this homecoming of Lord Rama is commemorated on Diwali with lights, fireworks, bursting of crackers and merriment. The festival gets its name Deepawali, or Diwali, from the rows (avali) of lamps (deepa) that the people of Ayodhya lit to welcome their King.

Today Diwali is celebrated across the world as the "Festival of Light," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good overthe evil withinevery human being .

Diwali Meaning & SignificanceDeepavali is a festival where people from all age groups participate. They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen 'diyas' (lamps), decorating the houses, bursting firecrackers and inviting near and dear ones to their households for partaking in a sumptuous feast. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to god for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor and fame. 


It is one time in the whole year that children volunteer to leave their beds long before the day begins. In fact, the traditional oil bath at 3 a.m, is the only chore that stands between them and the pre-dawn adventures. They emerge, scrubbed clean to get into their festive attire, and light up little oil lamps, candles and scented sticks(agarbathis), the wherewithal for setting alight crackers and sparklers. 


On Diwali night, little clay lamps are lit in Hindus homes, but now a days colored electric lamps are also used. What is the significance of lighting a lamp? There is a logical answer to this question. It is through the light that the beauty of this world is revealed or experienced. Most civilizations of the world recognize the importance of light as a gift of God. It has always been a symbol of whatever is positive in our world of experience. 


To Hindus, darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge. Therefore, lighting a lamp symbolizes the destruction, through knowledge, of all negative forces- wickedness, violence, lust, anger, envy, greed, bigotry, fear, injustice, oppression and suffering, etc. Competition is stiff, and even the little girl in silk frocks and their finery are watching out for the best sparklers and flowerpots, the rockets and Vishnuchakras, which light-up the night sky like a thousand stars. Grown-ups are the soul of generosity. Festive bonhomie abounds.

Diwali: Festival of Lights

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.




The Origin of DiwaliHistorically, the origin ofDiwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or 'Deepawali.' Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day. In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana. Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.

These Four DaysEach day of Diwali has its own tale, legend and myth to tell. The first day of the festival Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees.Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. It is on the third day of Deepawali — Kartika Shudda Padyami that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.


The Significance of Lights & FirecrackersAll the simple rituals of Diwali have a significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rains.

The Tradition of GamblingThe tradition of gambling on Diwali also has a legend behind it. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva, and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuing year. Diwali is associated with wealth and prosperity in many ways, and the festival of 'Dhanteras' ('dhan' = wealth; 'teras' = 13th) is celebrated two days before the festival of lights.From Darkness Unto Light...In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil; and it is with each Deepawali and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, that this simple truth finds new reason and hope. From darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope. Diwali is celebrated around the globe. Outside India, it is more than a Hindu festival, it's a celebration of South-Asian identities. 

Happy Diwali 2021

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