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Snippet: Diwali

BY THE DIVERSITY STORY



Overview/History

Diwali is the festival of lights which is dated back to 2,500 years ago. Diwali is normally a five-day celebration and is traditionally the biggest holiday of the year. There is no one specific story that caused the Diwali festival to be celebrated. Most of the stories are associated with the triumph of good over evil; these stories change based on India's region. In southern India, Diwali is linked to the famous story about the god Krishna freeing 16,000 women from an evil king. In addition to the festival varying due to different regions, Diwali has different meanings for different religions. Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism use Diwali to mark other events in their own religion's history.


Diwali Symbols

Lamps, fireworks, and bonfires are a huge part of Diwali, since one thing Diwali symbolizes is spiritual darkness being lifted.


Creation of rangoli is the practice of creating an intricate floor decoration at the entrance of one’s home with colored flour, sand, rice, or flower petals with various patterns and motifs


Common rangoli symbols are:

  • Animals and flowers

  • Swastika: an ancient symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Odinism that represents wealth and good fortune.

  • Om: embodiment of divine energy and the essence of the universe


How Diwali is Celebrated:


Day 1 - To bring good fortune, people clean their homes and go out to shop for gold and kitchen utensils.


Day 2 - People decorate their homes

  • With clay lamps

  • By creating rangoli (a design pattern) on the floor with with colored powders


Day 3 - Main day of the festival

  • Families gather together for Lakshmi puja (prayers to Goddess Lakshmi)

  • Delicious feast and firework celebrations


Day 4 - First day of the new year

  • Friends and families visit each other along with gifts and best wishes


Day 5 - Brothers visit married sisters who will welcome them with a grand meal and lots of love


Diwali's Variations

Diwali is celebrated in a variety of different ways, with each difference depending on region and tradition.


In Hinduism: The importance of the celebration of Diwali in Hinduism can be compared to that of Christmas in Christianity.

  • Hindus in North India celebrate the royal homecoming of Rama (one of the most widely worshiped deities in the Hindu religion) to the city of Ayodhya after defeating the ten-headed king of the demons, known as Ravana.

  • In South India, Hindus believe the festival marks the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.

  • In West India, many Hindus celebrate Diwali as the day that one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity, Lord Vishnu sent the demon, King Bali, to rule the nether world.

In Jainism, Diwali marks the spiritual awakening–otherwise known as the “nirvana”–of Lord Mahavira on October 15 in 527 B.C.. Lord Mahavira was the last of the 24 Tirthankaras, the saviors who spread Jainism.

  • In Sikhism, the observation of Diwali honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, who was the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment and returned to the city of Amritsar in India.

  • Although Diwali is not a primary festival of Buddhism, it is celebrated by some Buddhists as remembrance of the day when Emperor Ashoka–the last major emperor in the Mauryan dynasty of India–converted to Buddhism.


SOURCES

https://www.history.com/news/the-ancient-origins-of-indias-biggest-holiday

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/diwali

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/short-reads/article/2172294/what-swastika-has-do-diwali-and-how-indias

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/diwali/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Diwali-Hindu-festival


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