There is a wonderful celebration in India that takes place over several days. It is with joy in the heart that people, from all walks of life, exchange sweets with their relatives, friends, neighbors, colleagues, to anchor the values associated with this celebration of light, Diwali. Let’s find out how this celebration unfolds in this blog from masteringindia.org
What could be better than a video to get you in the mood
Why celebrate light?
The light symbolizes victory over ignorance, hatred and lethargy. It is with this in mind that everyone, everywhere, illuminates their homes, workplaces and businesses. Traditionally lit with earthen lamps filled with oil, and nowadays with electric garlands, the night of Diwali, said to be the darkest of the year according to the lunar calendar, turns into the most sparkling one. There are many stories linked to this story. The most popular ones are that of Rama, an incarnation of God Vishnu, who returned to his Kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, in Southern India. The other story is that of Krishna, still an avatar of God Vishnu, having been instrumental in the release of a thousand damsels taken captive by the demon Narkasura. If you want to know more about these stories, leave us a comment ☺
The celebration of Diwali is unique. Everyone partakes in it. Shops and houses are lit up. Shopping for new clothes and decorative items begins a few weeks earlier, as does maintenance and painting. Everything must shine to welcome good luck into ones home.
Who says celebration says… sweets!
This is one of the great specialties of Diwali, sweets of all kinds! India is vast, and it is also a mix of traditions unique to each ethnicity spread across the states of India. The exchange of cakes is done for the pleasure of everyone. Do you have Hindus around you who offer you sweets on Diwali? Wish them “Happy Divali,” they will certainly appreciate it very much.
Discover these famous dessert ideas that will be all the rage if you serve them to end a dinner with loved ones!
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The unfolding of Diwali
Diwali is celebrated over five days.
Day One: The Dhanteras marks the start of the festivities. The houses are cleaned again from top to bottom, decorated with electric bulbs, rangolis (multicolored designs in mandala style on the floor), flowers and earthen lamps. The God of Ayurveda and Health, Dhanwantari, is celebrated to obtain his blessing. Before nightfall, a lamp made of flour is lit with sesame oil at the back of the house in the southern corner, out of respect for Yama, the God of death, asking for his protection from any premature death.
Day Two: The monkey-headed God, Hanuman, is celebrated, asking for his help in obtaining divine grace. Some traditions also celebrate Kali and Krishna and their victories over demons and their benevolence in liberating souls in torment. The second day is also the day where delicious cakes are made or purchased.
The most important day is the third, which coincides with the darkest night of the lunar calendar. On this day, Goddess Lakshmi is celebrated, thanking her for her benevolence and asking her to maintain it perpetually. At sunset, the oil lamps are lit, often by the children, and fireworks and firecrackers are detonated.
The fourth day: The Govardhan Puja is celebrated. Sweets are offered to the God Krishna, another avatar of Vishnu, to commemorate the story about him protecting his childhood village from torrential rains by lifting Govardhan Hill on his finger. It is also customary for men to give gifts to their wives on that day.
On the fifth day, it is Bhai Duj, which anchors the bond between siblings. Usually the brother will visit his sister, unlike Raksha Bandhan, another festival celebrating brotherhood.
Time for a prayer
A popular mantra from Vedic times demonstrating the importance of enlightenment in this part of the world is as follows: “Om Asatoma Sat Gamaya, Tamasoma Jyotir Gamaya, Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya. This prayer translates as follows:
Take me from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to enlightenment, from mortality to immortality.
Diwali propagates this message of Vedic times so well, this fundamental wish to be transported to the light. These small earthen lamps which sparkle all night long, encourage cohesion, to join them for the dissipation of darkness. What kind of darkness do we want to free ourselves from? Discontent, stress, dissatisfaction, misery, anger, lack of enthusiasm, … To get out of the many evils that surround us, let us light the lamp of joy in our hearts, thus bringing internal illumination. May we attain internal enlightenment, may the supreme light awaken your mind. May we attain the spiritual wealth of the Eternal. May we prosper gloriously in material as well as spiritual reality.
The importance placed on knowledge and working tools for Diwali
One thing that stands out for a foreigner like me is the importance placed on working tools during Diwali. Books, charge books, computers,… are blessed with prayers on the eve of Diwali, also known as the Choti (Small) Diwali, or Dhanteras. The avatar of Vishnu, Dhanwanteri, who is the God of Health and Ayurveda, is also celebrated on this day.
Diwali is a time for gifting loved ones and friends. While there are many suggestions always doing rounds on what would be the best gift to give, our recommendation as a learning platform, would be, to gift a book! Here are some suggestions on Indian authors who write in English.
Must Watch: Indian writers following the English era
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The effigy of grace in its simplest form
Laxmi, the Goddess of abundance, unconditional love and refinement, is celebrated by the Hindu people for Diwali, asking her for her perpetual grace in order to support their lives and those around them. Many don’t know this, but the grace of abundance doesn’t just mean financial wealth. Eight aspects are related to Ashta (eight) Laxmi:
Adi Lakshmi – The Primordial Mother Goddess
Dhana Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of material wealth
Dhanya Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of the harvest and grain
Gaja Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of power and strength
Santana Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of children and offspring
Veera Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of courage and perseverance
Vijaya Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of success
Aishwarya Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of comfort
Are these eight attributes important to the successful development of an individual? Share your opinion in the comments.
Diwali is a universal celebration symbolizing sharing, acceptance, respect, refinement and volunteerism. It’s easy to lose the sense of the importance of the most important things in life. Taking time by participating in this kind of event helps to refocus and value the relationships that we share with others.
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