Happy Diwali! As it is the Festival of Lights, we thought we would devote a blog the beautiful festival.
The word Diwali means ‘rows of lighted lamps’, the festival is known as Diwali because houses, public places and shops are decorated with oil lamps.
The festival celebrates good over bad, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Although these celebrations stay the same throughout the whole festival, the legends that go with the festival differ in different parts of India. In Northern India, Diwali celebrates Prince Rama’s return after defeating the demon Ravana. In some parts of India, the festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In Nepal, Diwali commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon King Narakasura. In Bengal, Diwali is associated with Kali, the goddess of time and death.
The festival falls in either October or November, depending on the new moon. Diwali also marks the beginning of the new business year, for many Hindus. Some also celebrate the Hindu New Year the day after Diwali, making this festival a time for, spring cleaning, exchanging gifts and preparing festive meals. Hindus often leave their windows and doors open for Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, to come in and Rangoli (patterns – usually in the shape of the lotus flower) are drawn on the doorstep of homes to welcome Lakshmi and good fortune for the coming year.