Deepavali, also known as Devali or the festival of lights, is a five-day religious celebration for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists around the world. This auspicious occasion marks the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and hope over despair.
It usually falls between October and the middle of November, depending on the Hindu lunar calendar.
During this time, families will come together to worship, dine on delicious foods and decorate their houses with colourful lights that will brighten up the entire neighbourhood and the festive mood. Before you send your friends and neighbours “Happy Diwali” wishes, here’s a brief history of what the celebration is all about, including the ritual that makes Deepavali such a joyous occasion.
The History of Deepavali
The significance of the festival may carry nuanced differences, depending on your beliefs, but most of the tales within the traditions of Hinduism, usually have the common theme of good triumphing against evil.
For most Hindus, it commemorates the day the demon king, Ravanna was slain by two powerful deities, Rama and Sita; who were then able to return home to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Thus, to honour their return, villagers lit earthen diyas (oil lamps) to illuminate the darkness that covered the path. Meanwhile, others believed it to be the birth of the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi on the first day of the 5 day-long event.
Yet, despite the differences in beliefs, the tradition of lighting diyas remains prevalent to this day as people continue to view light as the harbinger of good tidings.
How Deepavali is Celebrated
Observers would traditionally perform a deep cleansing ritual of their homes and surroundings, as cleanliness is believed to encourage the presence and blessings of goddess Lakshmi, who as mentioned earlier is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Many would also make rangoli or kolum, which are coloured patterns of flowers, powder, rice and sand made on the floor, to invite auspiciousness into their homes.
On top of that, people would wear new clothes, go to temples, and perform puja to the goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha. They also light diyas, enjoy delicious food, watch fireworks, and spend time with loved ones. Though the customs, ritual and historic legends vary, the essence of what the celebration represents – the symbolism of light over dark, good over evil – is always the same, never failing to bring people together and unifying them in a vibrant, positive and warm embrace.
Celebrate Deepavali By Spreading Joy!
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