Hindu Fest. | Diwali

Diwali Hindu Festival Lamp


Diwali – The Festival of Lamps

Deepavali (Diwali or Divali) is India’s best-known festival. It is a day of Hindu solidarity, when all Hindus gather in love and trust. It is observed by lighting rows of oil lamps and exchanging greeting cards, clothing and other gifts. Family bonds are strengthened and forgiveness sought. For many, Diwali marks the beginning of the new year. Joyous festivities and parties abound.

Diwali Hindu Festival Lamp

In Hindu culture, light is a powerful metaphor for knowledge and consciousness. It is a reminder of the preciousness of education, self-inquiry and improvement, which bring harmony to the individual, the community and between communities. By honoring light, we affirm the fact that from knowing arises respect for and acceptance of others. Lighting lamps reminds Hindus to keep on the right path, to dispel darkness from their hearts and minds, and to embrace knowledge and goodness.

What do Hindus do for Diwali?

Diwali (or Deepavali, “row of lights”) is celebrated by Hindus worldwide to commemorate the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair. Oil-wick lamps are lit in every household, along with colorful strings of electric lights, causing the home, village and community to sparkle with dancing fl ames. The festival falls on the day before the new moon in the month of Ashwin (October/ November). Communities spare nothing in celebration. Lavish spreads of sweets and treats reflect unfettered partying.

Diwali Hindu Festival Lamp

Diwali lehyam—a potent concoction made with ginger, pepper, ghee and more—is provided to help gourmands digest the sumptuous feast. Families reach out to each other with gifts of sweets, dried fruit and crunchy, salty treats. Everyone wears colorful new clothing and many even new jewelry. Girls and women decorate their hands with henna designs.

Diwali Hindu Festival Lamp

Wikipedia has a lovely explanation of Diwali.

While Diwali is popularly known as the “festival of lights”, the most significant spiritual meaning is “the awareness of the inner light”.

Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this inner light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (inner joy or peace).

The gunas are the underlying forces or tendencies which one needs to have unaffected, direct relation with in order to find effectiveness and righteousness in life: they are lines of potential and illuminate thought and action, thus the inner meaning of Diwali being the festival of lights.

Diwali celebrates this through festive fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship. While the story behind Diwali varies from region to region, the essence is the same – to rejoice in the inner light (Atman) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman).

It is certainly a joyous time of family, friends, food and firecracker mayhem. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami says:

“My guru, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, was very fond of Deepavali, and he referred to the festival of lights as “Hindu Solidarity Day” as it is a day celebrated by all the four denominations of Hinduism, Vaishnavism, Saivism, Shaktism and Smartism.

Deepavali is a celebration of the inner light within all of us, and on this day we honor the light within each other by giving new clothes, sharing sweets and snacks, cleaning the house, lighting oil lamps and bursting firecrackers.

Many business communities start their financial year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.”

US President Barack Obama also acknowledged Diwali, the first time for a US president:

Diwali Celebrations

Anything sweet plays an important role during Diwali. Also snacks are favourites.

Check out our Diwali recipes here.

Food for Diwali from around the Web

Diwali Hindu Festival Lamp

Pics via google images.

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