DIWALI – FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS!
One of the oldest and the widest celebrated festival, Diwali occupies a special place in India. The word Diwali means "festival of lights" and springs from the original Sanskrit word "Deepavali" which means “a row or series of lights”.
Diwali is believed to be the celebration of triumph of good over evil. Believers see this day as the one when love takes over despair, light defeats darkness and knowledge asserts its supremacy over ignorance. As per the three major philosophical schools of Hinduism, i.e., Vedanta, Yoga and Samkhya, the Atman is known to be beyond the physical existence. Expressing the transcendental side of Hinduism, this belief holds importance for the festival of Diwali as it is understood to be the unveiling of the true knowledge of one's real nature, giving way to spiritual awakening.
The celebration of Diwali extends from the lighting of lamps; decoration of houses; performance of Puja; preparation and consumption of sweets and other regional specialties; exchange of gifts to the telling of myths and legends to children and burning of fire crackers.
The main rituals and rites are performed on the evening of Diwali with puja offered to Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswati and Lord Kuber and other gods, varying as per different communities. It is believed that on the night of Diwali, Goddess of wealth Lakshmi visits the Earth. To acknowledge her presence and to invite her blessings to one's house, people light diyas on their doors, windows, verandahs and balconies. This is followed with children and adults dressed in their best fineries coming out of their houses and burning fire crackers.
This day additionally marks the beginning of New Year as per the Vikram Samvat calendar and owing to this traders and merchants begin their new fiscal year with the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kuber.
Diwali is an extended five-day celebration. The fact that makes this festival so popular and significant is the series of rituals which are not confined to just a single day. People usually begin the preparations weeks before the festival, commencing with the renovation of houses and work places; cleaning and painting buildings; shopping for decoration of houses, gifts for the loved ones, new clothes and other things required to enjoy the festival. Houses and workplaces are adorned with flowers, jhaalars, kandils, etc. Rangolis of flowers and dried powdered colours brighten the entrances of several households.
The following five days together make this festival complete:
- Chhoti Diwali / Naraka Chaturdasi
- Padwa/Goverdhan Puja
- Bhaiya Dooj
Siberian Health International wishes everyone happiness,
prosperity, wealth, and good health this Diwali!