Diwali, the festival of lights, marks the time when millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world celebrate the triumph of good over evil with beautiful rituals such as festive lights, fireworks, sweet delicacies and family gatherings. We delve into the Diwali story, history and traditions, to find out how Diwali is celebrated and how you can take part in the magical festivities.
What is the story behind Diwali?
In one of the main stories in Hindu mythology, Diwali is the day Lord Rama, his wife Sita Devi and brother Lakshmana return to their homeland after 14 years in exile. The villagers lit a path for Rama, who had defeated the demon king Ravana. Reenactments of this story are part of celebrations in some regions. Another Diwali story in Hindu mythology is that Diwali marks the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura and freed the people of his kingdom. After he slayed the demon, Lord Krishna declared it a day of festivities. In some parts of India, people burn effigies of the demon kings in both stories as part of the celebration.
How is Diwali celebrated?
The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word “deepavali”, which means “rows of lighted lamps”. Households across India celebrate by decorating their space with small lamps called diyas and other colourful lights. People cover streets and buildings in festive lighting and there are lively songs and dance. Dazzling fireworks go off, creating a spectacle of noise and light. This helps to scare away evil spirits and celebrate the victory of good over evil. Many consider Diwali to be a fresh start, similar to the Lunar New Year in January.
How long does the Diwali festival go on for?
Diwali lasts for five days. The peak day of celebrations is usually on the third day, which is similar to New Year’s Eve. Brothers and sisters reserve the last day of celebrations to spend time together. Although the Diwali festival officially lasts for five days, preparations begin well in advance. Fireworks and festivities often last for days afterwards. Temples are always busy with religious rituals during Diwali, so remember to be respectful and cover yourself inside temples. Avoid taking photos of worshippers.
Diwali at my House !! ~
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