Diwali or Deepavali, also known as the Festival of Lights warrants a big celebration in India. It generally falls between mid October to mid November, according to the lunar calendar. It is one of the biggest and most important festivals for Hindus. It is celebrated with family and friends – in traditional fashion. It is an official holiday not just in India but also in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore and a few other countries.
|Also Called||pTranslation: Row of Lights; Diwali, Festival of Lights|
|Observed by||Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists|
|Type||Religious, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Surinam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji (National holiday in these countries)|
|Date||Decided by the luni-solar Hindu calendar|
|2016 Date||30 October|
|Celebrations||Decorating homes with lights, Fireworks, distributing sweets and gifts|
|Observances||Prayers, Religious rituals (see puja, prashad)|
During the festival of Diwali, people light clay lamps filled with oil – this signifies the victory of good over evil. Lamps are also kept burning through the night to welcome Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth. People wear new clothes and exchange sweets and other goodies with friends and neighbors. They then get together to burst fire crackers with their children. Dhanteras is another part of Diwali which is celebrated by business people and this signifies the start of the financial year.
Several events of significance are attributed to this big day are:
There are several other religious ceremonies associated with Diwali like Dhanteras and Bhaiduj. People also perform pujas in the name of the Goddess Lakshmi – to mark the end of the harvest season and also to request a good one the next year.
In Hinduism, the concept of spirit or inner light takes on a new meaning. One believes that higher knowledge is to be sought to dispel all ignorance and transcend our physical being to reach a place of pure joy and peace. Diwali celebrates the Inner Light in all beings. Diwali is celebrated not just by Hindus, but also Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, in their own fashion.