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Festival Of Lights (diwali)
People celebrate holidays and festivals with pomp and color and Diwali is not an exception. Diwali is the festival of lights, a holiday celebrated by Hindus. The Hindus mark the festival with a display of magnificent fireworks. It is impossible to miss the firework display. Ordinarily, the public enjoys beautiful firework displays during national celebrations such as New Year i.e. 1st of January. However, different religions/cultures celebrate festivals based on their beliefs. Diwali brings together the Indian community (Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains) where they enjoy four days of continuous celebration. The intent of the celebration is to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil (Sharma, 2008). The illumination of darkness with light empowers people to do what is good even when surrounded by evil.
Diwali marks the celebration of the Hindu New year and light a marker of self-improvement and new beginnings. Historically, the celebration of Diwali can be traced to the harvest period in traditional India. The harvest season involved celebration to gods and goddesses for the bountiful harvest. However, different Hindu communities hold different opinion over the origin of the celebration. For instance, Hindus in Bengal believe the festival began as a dedication of Mother Kali, the goddess of strength. The day also involves the celebration of Lord Ganesha, the god of auspiciousness and wisdom. Diwali also celebrates the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita to the kingdom of India after the exile (Sims, 2015). Diwali festival also celebrates Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Other than fireworks, celebrants light many lanterns in their homes so as to guide Lakshmi to their homes.
The Hindu community also lights up traditional candles around their homes. The candles are surrounded by colorful rangoli artworks and patterns made on the floor and decorated using colored rice and powder. The presence of lights, candles, and fireworks carry significance. The lighting of homes and brightening of the skies with fireworks is an illustration of respect to the gods for the acquisition of health, wealth, peace and prosperity (Sharma, 2008). The sound of the fireworks in the sky is an illustration of how people on earth are celebrating and making the gods aware of their plentiful state.
Families and friends share gifts and sweets and also take care of the needy. Non-Hindus with Hindu friends gets to enjoy plenty of sweets during the four-day celebration. The Indian sweets come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and flavors. The period also sees Hindu families engage in extensive house cleaning and purchase of new clothes. The practice is associated with the mark of new beginnings and a fresh start at life. The four days of celebration have special meaning and purpose (Sims, 2015). The first day marks the vanquishing of demon Narak by Lord Krishna. The second day is the day to worship Lakshmi. The third day commemorates the removal of tyrant Bali from hell so that he can rule the earth. The last day marks the getting together of families and relatives to celebrate the festival.
In conclusion, Diwali encourages family unity as relatives who have not seen each other for a while get to meet and celebrate the occasion. The festival also provides the community with an opportunity to enjoy and celebrates. Non-Hindus can also join their Hindu friends and colleagues in the celebration. The celebration also gives people an opportunity to make a fresh start in life as it is a marker of a shift from darkness to light.
Sharma, U. (2008). Festivals in Indian society. Mittal Publications
Sims, A. (2015). What is Diwali? When is the festival of lights? Independent Newspaper
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