Guest Author - Preena Deepak
Diwali also pronounced Deepavali means ‘row of lights’ and is the only Indian Festival that is celebrated across the country with exhaustive preparation and much gaiety. The whole festival spans over five days and the third day is celebrated as Diwali and is declared a public holiday in India. Diwali has roots in both religion and culture and is a commemoration of the triumph of good over evil.
Each year Diwali falls on a different date which is determined according to the position of the moon. Diwali is a religious festival mainly associated with Hinduism and has been celebrated for ages in India.
Legends of Diwali
Diwali is a celebration of light and dispelling darkness is one chief highlight of the festival. To symbolically represent this, tiny clay diyas lighted with cotton wicks and candles are placed in Indian homes. Crackers and fireworks to mark Diwali celebrations also emphasize this tradition.
Playing cards is the other legend associated with Diwali. It is popularly believed that the goddess of wealth smiles and brings good luck through the year ahead for all who gamble on Diwali.
Diwali Celebrations in India
Indians get on their toes several weeks ahead of Diwali and prepare to celebrate. Kitchens get busy making mouth watering Diwali sweets and savories, shopping malls are crowded with people buying clothes and gifts for family and friends and special stalls are put up in every nook and corner to sell firecrackers of sorts.
Diwali in Other Indian Religions
Incidentally, Diwali is the only Indian festival that is celebrated by all the four main Indian religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The reason for celebration differs for each religion.
Hindus celebrate Diwali as a festival of knowledge, hope and good times. Diwali signifies the birth of a new year and is believed to be an auspicious day to start a new business or venture.
The connotation varies in Buddhism, where Diwali is a day that marks the conversion of the noted Indian Emperor, Ashoka to Buddhism.
On the other hand, observance of Diwali by Sikhs is to remember the return of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Govindji from captivity.
Jains in India celebrate Diwali as they believe it to be the day when their main prophet, Mahavira attained ‘nirvana’.
Diwali holds the distinction of being the most important Indian festival and no other celebration binds Indians together like this grand festival of lights.
Here is a delightful book on Diwali for further reading.
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Why not try out new recipes to celebrate this Diwali? Buy a cook book and celebrate!
Buy Diwali Cookbook Veg. from Flipkart.com