Celebrating Diwali (The Ancient Festival)

What Is Diwali?

Diwali is an Indian festival which is celebrated for 5 days, in all regions around India the festival has subtle differences. It is known as the Festival of Lights all around the world. The celebration usually includes fireworks and symbolises the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness. The seasonal festival of Diwali is the most important in Hinduism and has been celebrated for centuries. Diwali is a national Indian festival and the Indian government has 3 days of holiday to celebrate Diwali. In Jainism the Diwali festival marks the nirvana or spiritual awakening of the Lord Mahavira on October 15, 527 B.C. in Sikhism, it honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.

In Bengal, the celebration is in worship for the goddess Kali, whereas in North India the festival Diwali is celebrated for the return of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana & Hanuman to the city of Ayodhya. The city of Ayodhya is the old historical birthplace of Rama and on Diwali Rama's rule of righteousness would commence in his role as king. On the third day of Diwali (which is celebrated on November 14th), there is a sequel of celebrations, small earthenware lamps filled with oil (Deepam Oil / Puja Oil) are lit and placed in rows along the parapets of temples and houses and set adrift on rivers and streams. The clay lamps are lit on the new moon to invite the presence of Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth.) Diwali lasts for five days from the 13th day which comes in the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of Kartika. The festival of Diwali occurs depending on the Gregorian calendar in October or November.

The correct pronunciation

Diwali is also known as Dipawali & Divali but the correct pronunciation is Deepavali. The term deepa refers to the clay lamps which are used as a light in the 5 day Deepavali festival. Avali is the word that comes after deepa’ and it is the traditional way to pronounce it. The name Deepavali comes from the combination of the two words, avali means (row) and deep means (clay lamps.) The name Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit term Dipavali.

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