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Home Columns Culture Diwali: Festival of Illumination

Diwali: Festival of Illumination

Last updated 3 weeks ago by Michael Darmanin

As the festive season has kick started, India celebrates its biggest festival of the year – Diwali. The word “Diwali” is a conjugation of the Sanskrit word “Deepavali”. Deepa means “Clay Lamps” and Avali means “Row”. Together it is “Row of Lighted Lamps.” Usually, it falls between October and November with changing dates each year. Generally on the 15th day of Karthik month of Hindu Calendar. This year the celebration starts from 12th November and ends on 16th November with 14th November being the Diwali.

Diyas
Lights, Lights Everywhere! Photo by Udayaditya Barua on UnSplash.com

In northern parts of India, it celebrates the returning of Lord Shree Rama from 14 years of exile. He is considered as the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu, the husband of Goddess Lakshmi. Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana returned back to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana – the Lanka King. In the Ramayana, Ravana abducted Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. Later, Shree Ram defeated the demon king Ravana. It’s the homecoming after war and victory. Eastern parts of India do Kali Puja. Southern parts of India celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna over demon Narakasura.

The festival signifies and celebrates the triumph of good over evil and victory of knowledge over ignorance.

blue candles on black surface
Photo by Zinko Hein on UnSplash.com

Essence of Diwali

The shloka, ‘Tamaso ma Jyotirgamaya’ which means “ Lead me from darkness to light.” It best describes the essence of Diwali.

FIll your hearts with love and light the wick of knowledge. Photo by Manoj kumar kasirajan on UnSplash.com

The preparation begins with deep cleansing of house. Mouthwatering snacks are prepared well in advance. Sweets made from refined flour, chick pea flour, semolina, mawa, dry fruits are too hard to ignore. Most of thedelicacies are smeared in ghee (Clarified Butter). Certainly, guilt free eating, gorging on Mithais (Rasgulla, Gualb Jamun, Ladoos, Kaju Katli, Kheer, Halwa, Jalebi), Regional Savories, Delicacies. All these pretty much sums up the spirit of Diwali. People shops for festive outfits, sweets, clad in new clothes (ethnic best) and adorn beautiful gold jewellery. They decorate their homes with lights, colorful lanterns, oil filled clay lamps and Rangoli.Rangoli is a design pattern created on floor with colored sands or flower petals. These art designs are the aesthetic element and traditional part of the festivity. Everything is bright and colorful which radiates positive energy. Not to miss -FireCrackers! Young or Old everyone loves Fountains, Ground Spinners, Sparklers, Poppers and Snakes.

Rangoli
Rangoli – Intricate Part of every house in Diwali. By Dinesh Korgaokar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 on Wikipedia.
Without Sweets, Diwali is Incomplete. Photo By Amila Tennakoon, CC BY 2.0 on Wikipedia
Chakri – the Spinning FireCracker. Photo by Shridhar Dixit on UnSplash.com

5 Day Extravaganza

Dhanteras

Families worship the Hindu deity Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. It marks as the auspicious beginning of the annual year. A devotional offering (Prasad) is made and shared among the devotees.

DhanLaxmi Puja. Photo by Krutika Hirani

Choti Diwali (Small Diwali), Kali Chaudas

The second day of the festival is when prayers are performed in order to liberate any soul from their suffering. Also,people worship Hanumanji (companion of Lord Rama) for protection from evil.

Trance of Positivity. Photo by nikohoshi on UnSplash.com

Diwali

Fondly known as Festival of Lights. On this day too, People pray to Goddess Lakshmi. Shopowners and businessmen do the LakshmiPuja and open new books for treasury and wealth management. At night, people illuminate their homes with diyas and burst varieties of firecrackers.

Laxmi Puja
Laxmi Puja. Photo By By Amila Tennakoon – Diwali Celebrations in Sri Lanka, CC BY 2.0 on Wikipedia
Ladoos
Reason to binge on Ladoos. Photo by Prachi Palwe on UnSplash.com
Sparklers
A little extra sparkle causes no harm. Photo by Madhukar Kumar on UnSplash.com

Gujarati New Year/ Gowardhan Puja

This marks as the New Year for Gujaratis and many parts of North-West India. Friends and family members visit each other’s home with gifts/sweets and exchange warm greetings. Families organise lavish feasts. A festive meal is prepared. In many regions, Gowardhan Puja is performed for gratifying the Hindu god Lord Krishna.

Happy New Year text
Rejoice! It’s New Year. Photo by Crazy nana on UnSplash.com

Bhai Duj

On this day, brothers visit their married sisters which celebrates the bond of siblings.

shallow focus photo of lighted votive candle
Photo by Rahul Setia on UnSplash.com

Diwali Around the World

Countries like Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Myanmar, Fiji celebrate it with equal grace and pomp.

Photo By Dhilung Kirat from Santa Barbara, CA – Glowing Swayambhu, CC BY 2.0 on Wikipedia

Places to Visit in India

The best place to visit during Diwali is Jaipur and Varanasi (Banaras). These two cities celebrates it in the best way possible. The Grandeur is too good to miss out. Be around these splendid places and you won’t regret it. Booking.com makes sure, you have a comfortable stay.

When in Benaras (Varanasi), Ganga-Aarti is a must. Photo by Manisa Mitpaibul on UnSplash.com
Shops of Jaipur decorated with flowers and lamps. Photo by Krutika Hirani.
Albert Hall, Jaipur. Photo by Krutika Hirani
Jewellery Shop in Jewel like lightning during Diwali. Photo by Krutika Hirani
Pink City – Jaipur is best explorable at night. Photo by Krutika Hirani

Diwali Wishes and Greetings!

May the divine light and lamp of joy illuminate your life with new hopes, dreams, bright days, good health, prosperity and happiness. This Diwali englighten your soul. Wishing you all a Subh Deepavali and a Happy New Year.

Krutika Jadeja Hirani
Krutika Jadeja Hirani
Born and raised in India, I am Electronics & Communication Engineer. New Technologies, Travelling, Reading, Dancing, Relishing Different Culture and Making Delicious Meals are the things that fascinate me the most. Caught by Wanderlust bug, I would describe myself as a "Flaneur" I am passionately curious about exploring new horizons. Dance keeps my creative flare intact. Reading and Travelling helps me to narrate tales that motivate. Having a Papyrophilia, I love to hoard stationeries. I am here, to make a difference through my writings, share ideas and hope to inspire. I live by this quote:"Pen is mightier than Sword."

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