Thursday kicked off Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights and India’s biggest holiday. Millions of Hindus, Janis and Sikhs celebrate Diwali, which is also celebrated by some Buddhists. It dates back over 2,500 years. According to the Hindu Lunar calendar Diwali occurs during the Hindu lunisolar lunar month Kartika.
The ancient celebration celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and the victory over darkness. It is about bringing peace and joy, and removing all doubt and negativity, illuminating our inner selves with clarity and positivity.
Diwali celebrations are sacred and joyful. Families and friends get together to eat, exchange gifts and light fireworks. They also worship at their temples. It is also a time when the faithful pray to Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth so they receive blessings from her for health, wealth, and prosperity.
Inside Edition Digital: Asha Shipman, Yale University Hindu Chaplain, said: “May Diwali be a time of sweetness, and friendship, well-being and prosperiity. May the diwi you light within and around your home nourish your own inner flame so that you may be a source of joy, radiance and knowledge in this world,”
What does the holiday mean?
The word “Diwali,”it comes from the Sanskrit term “Deepavali”That is what it means “row of clay lamps.” This is the name traditionally known in India.
Many people celebrate Diwali by set off fireworks, light candles, and decorate the inside and outside of their homes with lights to mark light over darkness.
Little oil lamps made of earthen oil are used to line the banks along the riverbanks in Northern India, near the Ayodhya temple. Ayodhya has been considered to be the birthplace and home of Lord Rama, the Hindu god. Diwali, which is when he returns to his homeland after defeating a demon, is celebrated in Ayodhya.
What is the history behind Diwali?
Dr. Pankaj Jain, an internationally recognized academic leader in sustainability, Jain studies, film studies, and diaspora studies, and is also department head of Humanities and Languages and chair of The India Centre at FLAME University, told Inside Edition Digital that Diwali is traditionally linked with one of the most popular, most ancient, and the longest Sanskrit texts, Ramayana.
“In a slightly similar manner to the return of the hero in the Greek epic Odyssey, when Ramayana heroes return after accomplishing their mission, the entire city of Ayodhya lights up literally and figuratively to welcome their aircraft called Pushpak Viman,” Jain said. “
He continued. “Over the last several millennia, people across India and other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Mongolia, Iran, and Russia, have been noted as celebrating this “festival of lights.”
What do the five days worth of festivities entail?
There are some rituals that are performed over the course the five-day celebration. These rituals are traditional and draw the goodwill of spirits. Jani says that preparations are important before the joyous event.
“The festivities begin at least two days before Diwali Day, when Hindus across the world worship their wealth, typically by doing rituals on their silver or gold coins, and other precious items,”Jani explained. “Many Ayurvedic practitioners also celebrate that day by revering to the Hindu deity of health called ‘Dhanvantari.’”
He explained that the next day is for celebrating beauty, both physical and mental. He explained that the main Diwali Day is after this day. “in which once again the goddess of wealth, Laxmi, is worshipped with people dawning their new clothes relishing sweets and other delicacies with their family members.”
Jainism says that this day is also “revered as the day when their last great teacher Mahavira attained liberation.”
Jani added: “The next day is to greet all family members and friends for the new Hindu year based on the Hindu lunar calendar. Finally, the fifth day celebrates the sacred bond between brothers and sisters,”Jani explained.
Cleaning the house, purchasing new clothing, furniture and kitchen utensils are some other rituals that can be used to bring good luck.
What are some of the traditional sweets and food people eat during this holiday?
Jani explained that most people enjoy vegetarian delicacies made mostly from homemade ingredients, which are usually made of wheat flour or rice flour.