For almost 1 billion Hindus across the world, the 5 day celebration of Diwali is the most sacred time of the year and a time to rejoice and share gifts.
Deepavali (also spelled Divali or Diwali), is known as the "festival of lights" and is celebrated by all Hindus around the world. The name “Diwali” is itself a contraction of the word "Deepavali", which translates to “row of lamps”. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil or light over darkness or knowledge over ignorance.
There are several stories written in the Puranas (Hindu scripture). The most famous is the myth of Rama and Ravana. According to Hindu mythology, there are five days to celebrate Diwali where every day is associated with specific celebration. The first day of Diwali is “Dhanteras”, the second day is “Narak chaturdasi”, the third day is celebrated as Diwali, and the fourth and fifth days are “Govardhan puja” and “bhaiyaduz” respectively.
Like in many parts of Nepal and India, the myth behind the celebration of Diwali is the victory of Rama over Ravana and then the return of Rama in Ayodhya with Lakshman and Sita after their 14 year exile in the forest. Legend says, the people of Ayodhya greeted Rama by lighting rows of lamps. Thus it was named as Deepavali, deep (lamp) avali (rows).
Rama with Sita on the throne surrounded by other deities
Diwali is hence associated with candles, diyas and lots of fireworks. They perform “Laxmi pooja” on the auspicious day of Diwali. After the pooja, they exchange sweets and gifts. According to the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated on the day of “amavasya” in November.
On behalf of all of us at Digital Journal we wish all Hindu readers a peaceful and joyous Diwali.