Diwali is the most celebrated festival in India – especially for Hindus and Jains. The term being derived from the Sanskrit word “Dipavali”, which means the row of lights, the main festival happens on the no-moon day of the dark half of Kartik ( name of a month) as per the Hindu lunar calendar. Celebrated insanely in India, Diwali is also celebrated in many other parts of the world like Mauritius, Thailand, Fiji, Japan, United Kingdom, UAE, Netherlands, Myanmar, Malaysia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, New Zealand etc. Even in USA people of Indian origin celebrates Diwali with great pomp. What is most interesting in this regard is that the US house of representatives has passed a resolution recognizing the spiritual, religious and cultural significance Diwali. Mr. Joe Wilson, who is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said, “My resolution acknowledges the international, religious, and historical importance of the festival of Diwali as well as the religious diversity in India, the United States, and throughout the world. It shows our support for the strong and growing partnership and dialogue in international efforts between the United States and India”. Know as the “Festival of Lights”, Diwali symbolizes the dominion of good over evil and the light of knowledge over the darkness of ignorance.
The most common activities that encompasses the Diwali celebration are exchanging Diwali gifts, making special Diwali sweets, purchasing new cloths, decorating homes and not to forget enjoying the dazzling fireworks. Although most of the crackers emitting huge noises are banned, some others such as sparklers, flashes, fountains and aerial rockets are still having sky touching demand all across India and abroad. Although distinctive prominences are given to celebrate the Festival of Light in different region of India, the spirit of celebration is always at its peak when it comes to Diwali.
While it is commonly known as the Festival of lights, the esoteric essence of the festival lies in the awareness of the innermost lights. As the central theme of Hindu philosophy being the existence of Atma – the soul beyond the physical body, the main purpose of Diwali celebration is to celebrate the presence of the inner lights, awakening the people and bringing them to the light of goodness.
Diwali is a 5 day festival that usually starts with Dhanteras, which is a day that is set apart for the worship of Lord Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth. The Second day of the festival symbolizes the Day of Strength and hence is spend worshipping the Lord of Strength – Goddess Kali. The third day being the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar is spent to celebrate the presence of the inner lights and victory righteousness. That is why the homes and the patios are adorned with lamps, candles and diyas (the earthen oil lamp). Illumination and fireworks are the main attractions for the day err night, although in many parts of India, people usually start playing with fireworks. The fourth day of Diwali is again one of the most vital days, as it marks the beginning of a Hindu lunar new year. It is on this particular day that the old business accounts are settled with starting off with new books and accounts. The last day of Diwali (Balipratipada), is used to remember and honour an ancient Indian king called Bali. He is remembered for his philosophy and good deeds.