Monday, October 16, 2006
Diwali or Deepavali is the most significant Hindu festival in India. Huge enthusiasm can be observed amongst people days before the festival. On the day of Diwali entire country appears resplendent as people light up diyas and candles all around their house to mark the joyous 'Festival of Lights'. During the evening traditional Lakshmi Puja is observed in business establishments and individual houses. Later, people exchange Diwali gifts like sweets and dry fruits with their friends, neighbours, colleagues and dear ones.
The uniqueness of this festival is its harmony of five varied philosophies, with each day to a special thought or ideal. Diwali is a time when every establishment is illuminated with “Deeps”- oil lamps and every heart is filled with joy. Delighted children set off fireworks in the spirit of festival. Date of Diwali Festival is not fixed as it is reckoned according to the position of the moon. According to Hindu calendar, Diwali falls on the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the auspicious Hindu month of Kartik (October/November). It comes on the no moon day or Amavasya. This Diwali date is significant for Hindus as it was on this particular day that Lord Ram was crowned as the King of Ayodhya on his return to the kingdom with wife Sita and brother Laxman after 14 years of exile and slaying of demon King Ravana. People celebrate Diwali by lighting diyas to dissipate the darkness of amavasya and commemorate the crowning of Lord Ram.
Diwali, being the festival of lights, thousands of lamps are lit in and outside every home on the day. Lamp or “Deep” is the symbol of knowledge. Lighting the lamp of knowledge within us means to understand and reflect upon the significant purpose of each of the five days of festivities and to bring those thoughts in to our day to day lives. The day of Diwali is to remember mantra - Tamaso Ma JyotirGamaya, (lead us from darkness to light). We forget our enemies and jealousy, to lighten the path of life is done by lights.
Deepavali is a festival where people from all age groups participate. They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen 'diyas' (lamps), decorating the houses, bursting firecrackers and inviting near and dear ones to their households for partaking in a sumptuous feast. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to god for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor and fame.