Diwali, the festival of lights, is a time when you celebrate life and strengthen family and social relationships. It’s time to reconsider your priorities to make your life happy and better.
This year the festival was celebrated on 17 October.
The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Festivities focus on lights and lamps, particularly traditional diyas, prayers, flower decorations, religious rituals, gift-giving and eating lots of traditional sweets. Fireworks are also associated with the festival in some regions of the world. The North Indian business community usually starts their financial new year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.
According to the great epic ‘Mahabharat‘, it was ‘Kartik Amavasya’ when the Pandavas returned after twelve years of banishment. The people of their kingdom who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting earthen lamps and welcomed them.
Another legend says that the kingdom of Ayodhya celebrated the coming of Lord Rama after a long exile of fourteen years. The tradition of lighting diyas and candles dates back to history when the people of Avadha lighted diyas throughout the kingdom to show the way to their beloved prince Rama, wife Sita, and Lakshmana.
An integral part of Diwali decorations is the Rangoli, a colorful pattern drawn on the floor.
On the eve of Diwali, children light lamps in the form of swastika. At Diwali melas, Henna is applied on women’s hands.
Every year, thousands of Sikhs and Hindus celebrate Diwali at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankaras, attained Nirvana on this day at Pavapuri.
Diwali is celebrated widely all over the world.
In Malaysia, Diwali is known as Hari Deepavali’, and is celebrated during the seventh month of the Hindu solar calendar. In Nepal, Diwali is known as Tihar and celebrated during the October/November period. Diwali is celebrated in the Caribbean Islands as well. In Trinidad and Tobago, Diwali is marked as a special occasion and celebrated with much fanfare.
Diwali brings a ray of hope for mankind. It signifies a natural awakening of the true consciousness of the soul. The Divine Knowledge, imparted by God Shiva, makes one understand and realize that he/she is not a body, but a spark of Divine Light. With this true awareness, we can all come together as a global family and bring about the new world, where people live together in absolute harmony.