What is Diwali?
Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights - so called because it commemorates the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness. It's one of India's biggest and most popular festivals and it takes place every year in late October or early November, in accordance with the new moon and the Hindu calendar.
Diwali is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. Diwali celebrates the day on which it is believed that Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons. People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil, or the victory of light over darkness.
The goddess of happiness and good fortune, Lakshmi, is also included in the celebration. According to Hindu tradition, she roams the Earth on this day and enters any house that is pure, clean, and bright. Diwali celebrations may vary in different communities and in different regions of India, but the significance and spiritual meaning is generally the same: the awareness of the inner light.
Photo via Flickr user Magiceye
The 5 Days of Diwali
Diwali is celebrated for 5 days in most parts of India. Each day has its own special significance and traditions. Different gods and goddesses are worshipped on different days of Diwali. Some days, ancestors are remembered and honored. What you do on each day of Diwali will vary based on which region of India you are in. But the most important day of the festival is always the third day, on which the triumphant return of Lord Rama is celebrated. On this day, homes and streets will be lit up with lamps and lanterns, and fireworks will color the sky.
Photo via Flickr User @ondasderuido
Some examples of other festivities that take place over the 5 days of Diwali include:
- Taking holy baths at sunset
- Chanting mantras and making offerings
- Visiting temples and worshipping gods and goddesses
- Visiting family and friends
- Lighting candles and decorating with fairy lights
- Firecrackers, sparklers and fireworks
- Making Rangoli drawings
Photo via Flickr user Nimish Gogri
What do you think, would you like to celebrate Diwali?
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