..The Intuitive Times
Spiritual Practices


Diwali: The Hindu Festival of Lights

by Umesh Gupta, Charlottetown PEI

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DIWALI (short form of Deepawali) or deepawali is also known as the festival of lights. Deep means light and awali meaning a row. It is celebrated each year on the darkest moon night in the Indian month of Kartika. It usually falls between late October and mid November. Since it is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, it does not fall on the same date each year.

DIWALI can be equated with the Christmas of the west in that there are lights, sweets and the exchange of gifts and food. The Festival of Lights commemorates the day Lord Rama, whom Hindus worship as God incarnate, returned to his kingdom after a 14-year period of exile. Of all Indian festivals, DIWALI is the loveliest. It is an occasion of great excitement, splendor and rejoicing for everyone across India. Dozens of sweets are prepared in every home and some are exchanged with neighbors and friends. In Hindu custom light signifies goodness. During this festival, oil lamps are burned throughout the night. Every home is filled with twinkling oil lamps and decorative lights. Every city, town and hamlet is turned into a fairyland with flickering lamps and electric lights illuminating every home and public building. Typical of many Indian festivals, it includes preparation of traditional sweets, shopping for new clothes, as well as the cleaning and decoration of homes. Firework displays are common throughout the country.

DIWALI symbolizes unity in diversity as different regions of the country celebrate it in their own special way. In south India, Diwali is dedicated to God Krishna killing Narakasura. In eastern India the festival is dedicated to Kali, the goddess of strength who is worshiped to honor her destroying of Bakasura. DIWALI in northern India is dedicated to the worship of Lord Rama for destroying the evil king Ravana. This means that in India everyone no matter what tradition celebrates this festival. In each tradition the theme behind the festival is the same - good conquering the evil. DIWALI symbolizes the victory of the righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. From darkness we enter into light and light empowers us to do good deeds and bring us closer to divinity.

DIWALI marks the beginning of the New Year according to the Vikrama calender (Hindu Indian Calender). Old accounts are settled and new books are opened. All the business people start new business calendars and celebrate their new year. On this day, Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) Puja (worship) is most common in the northern and many other parts of India. They worship the goddess Laxmi to bless their new account books

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