Deepawali: Festival of Lights
We all know about Diwali. It is often referred to as the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is almost here.
Over one billion Hindus including friends and families are currently preparing for the festival with ancient traditions from thousands of years ago. It’s being remembered at this special time on the calendar. Candles will be lighten up, prayers will be sent and a feast will be thrown as Hindus begin on a New Year.
Diwali is the most famous and largely celebrated holiday in India because it marks the Hindu New Year on the 23rd of October, lasting for 5 days. The 5 days of Diwali include:
- Day 1: On the first day, the ‘Spring clean’ takes place.
- Day 2: Decorations begin to take place with lamps and diyas all around the newly cleaned home.
- Day 3: The third day of the holiday. Families gather to pray to the Goddess Lakshmi, before a mouth-watering feast and fireworks.
- Day 4: The start of the Hindu New Year. Friends and family gather to exchange gifts and best wishes for the New Year that is upon them.
- Day 5: On the final day, brothers visit sisters where they are greeted with love and an extravagant meal.
Hinduism is the major religion of India and is thought to be the oldest religion in the world. Housewives and women of the household consider it lucky to do a ‘Spring Clean’ so that the house is clean before the entering of a New Year. It is an old tradition that gambling at the time of the Hindu New Year is good luck and brings wealth to the forthcoming year.
In business terms, Diwali shows a new term for businesses as they open new accounting books and farmers end the harvest season with Diwali signaling the beginning of winter.
Diwali takes its name from diyas which is a symbolic act of removing the darkness and awakening the light. This is where the term ‘Festival of lights’ comes from as shops, restaurants and homes all decorate their properties with oil lamps and diyas. It is thought lamps help Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth to finds her way into their homes. Ganesh is seen as the God of good beginnings. Therefore, during Diwali, he is placed side by side with Lakshmi. Ganesh is then worshipped first, signaling the removal of any obstacles which may interfere with the wealth and prosperity from Lakshmi.
Similarly to India, Hindu’s in Britain celebrate the New Year with fireworks, the exchanging of gifts including sweets and dried fruits, before wearing new clothes and preparing festive meals.
The festival has underlying celebratory meanings including light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil.
I hope that you all will end up your Diwali with good memories stop bursting firecrackers. Families these days spend so much of money on firecrackers and fireworks. This may bring a few seconds of joy for some, but also brings permanent damage to the lungs and health of all.