- Culture & Society
Diwali - Festival of Lights
03 Nov 2021
Diwali (also called Deepavali in South India) belongs to the most important festivities in the Hindu calendar. The multi-day celebrations, which take place between the end of October and the beginning of November depending on the lunar calendar, are celebrated every year not only by many millions of Hindus, but also by followers of other religions such as Sikhs and Jainas. According to Hindu tradition, the festival is primarily dedicated to worshipping Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. To guide the deity, and with her prosperity and happiness, to the homes of the devotees, houses are decorated with thousands of lights. These lamps also symbolize the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil and of knowledge over ignorance. In some areas of India, such as the state of Gujarat and parts of northern India, Diwali also marks the start of the new year.
Although customs differ from region to region, a number of rituals and traditions make up the core of the Diwali festival all across India. In preparation for the celebrations, houses and apartments are thoroughly cleaned and festively decorated with diyas (oil lamps) and rangolis (colourful patterns on the floor). In addition, especially on Dhanteras, the first of the five days of Diwali, people flock to the markets and shopping malls to buy not only gifts, jewellery, and fireworks, but also new household items. At the height of Diwali, the third day, temples, houses, and entire city centres are ablaze with magnificent lights and people come together for large family celebrations. The ensuing festivities are centred upon worshiping important Hindu deities such as Lakshmi or Ganesha, as part of which gifts and sweets are exchanged and fireworks are lit to honour the gods.
If you want to share your experience with Diwali write to us at [email protected] or get in touch with us on our Social Media. Throughout Diwali 2021 we will be posting photos and videos from India to give you an authentic insight into the festival of lights, check out Facebook, Instagram and Youtube!
Written by: Ferdinand Schlechta
Photo Credit: Abhinaba Babu - Flickr
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