Diwali- Festival of Lights
Many cultures around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways. One of the different cultures that celebrate Christmas differently is India. They celebrate a special holiday called Diwali, also known as festival of lights .This festival is important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians according to Calee Allen, from his article, “Diwali- Festival of Lights,” and also the holiday get its name from the row(avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness (Allen). It is a five day celebration unlike Christmas where it’s usually just one.
Every year around October and November, Hindus around the world celebrate Diwali which stretches back more than 2,500 years. Like many Hindu festivals, there isn’t just one reason to celebrate the five-day holiday. Pankaj Jain, a professor of anthropology, philosophy, and religion at the University of North Texas, says that the ancient celebration is linked to multiple stories in religious texts. Many of these stories are about the triumph of good over evil .
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According to jain it’s a story of a evil king in Lanka (which some people associate with Sri Lanka) captures Rama’s wife Sita, he builds up an army of monkeys to rescue her (qtd.in “Ancient”). The monkeys build a bridge over from India to Sri Lanka, and they invade Sri Lanka and free Sita and kill that evil king.As Rama and Sita return to the north, “millions of lights are spread out across the city” Ayodhya just to help them come back home, just to welcome them.”Lighting lamps has long been one of the ways that Hindus celebrate Diwali”(qtd. in”Ancient”).
On the first day of Diwali, according to the article “5 Days of Diwali- Names and Significance”, it is also known as ,Dhan Teras, people shop for gold and kitchen utensils. This day has great significance in many parts of India; people consider this as a very auspicious day and Muhurat. On the second day of Diwali (Kali Chaudas) Lord Krishna is known to have destroyed the demon Narakasura, freeing the world from fear (“5 Days”). On this day, it is believed that one should massage the body with oil to relieve it of tiredness, bathe and rest, so that Diwali can be celebrated with vigour and devotion (5 Days”)
The third day of Diwali is when the festivities of Diwali actually begin by worshipping the goddess, Lakshmi, and the lord Ganesha, people also light candles in their houses and streets with sparklers and crackers all across India. The fourth day (Annakut) is all about people worshipping their instruments, arms, and machinery (“5 Days”). The last day which is the fifth day (Bhai Dooj) is where brothers go and visit their sisters. The sisters prepare sweets for them and also wish them a long, and healthy life.
Diwali and Christmas have a few things in common. In Diwali families and friends share sweets and gifts and there is also a strong belief in giving food and goods to those in need. It is also traditional for homes to be cleaned and new clothes to be worn at the time of the festival. James Rush states in his article,”Diwali: What Is the Festival of Lights – and How Is It Celebrated,” celebration however features various rich savoury and sweet dishes, and while eating out is popular, families will mostly prepare food at home for when guests arrive to exchange gifts and watch fireworks. In Christmas people exchange sweets like candy canes and also presents to another. People also clean and cook in their homes for guests or family members coming over to celebrate Christmas.
In conclusion Diwali is a very well known special event around October-November in India. It is a 5 day celebration in which each day represents something different in Hindu culture. Very much like Christmas, people that celebrate Diwali also give out gifts to loved ones and friends.
- Allen, Calee, et al. “Diwali – Festival of Lights.” Kids’ Games, Animals, Photos, Stories, and More, 23 Oct. 2014, kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/diwali/#diwali_rangoli.jpg, Accessed 10 Dec. 2018.
- “5 Days of Diwali – Names and Significance.” GaneshaSpeaks, 8 Nov. 2015, www.ganeshaspeaks.com/predictions/astrology/5-days-of-diwali/ Accessed 11 Dec. 2018 Rush, James. “Diwali: What Is the Festival of Lights – and How Is It Celebrated.” The Independent,
- Independent Digital News and Media, 7 Nov. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/diwali-2014-what-is-the-festival-of-lights-and-how-is-it-celebr Ated-9810212.htm, Accessed 11 Dec. 2018.
- “The Ancient Origins of Diwali, India’s Biggest Holiday.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/news/the-ancient-origins-of-indias-biggest-holiday, Accessed 11 Dec. 2018