Wednesday, October 21, 2009

DIWALI - all over the WORLD!!!

India is a land of festivals and the country celebrates the maximum number of religious festivals in the world. This is primarily because of the presence of different religions and communities in the country. Every festival celebrated in India has a specific significance and is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety. India is pre-dominantly a Hindu country and a large number of Hindu festivals are celebrated across the nation. The largest Hindu festival is Diwali - the festival of lights.

The Sparkle of Diwali

Diwali festival in India is celebrated throughout the nation in different ways and patterns. However, there are certain rituals and traditions associated with Diwali that are commonly followed throughout the country. The festival is celebrated in the months of October or November and marks the defeat of evil Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The festival is celebrated for five consecutive days and also marks the end of Narkasura at the hands Lord Krishna. The festival is mainly celebrated to mark the end of the evil and disperse darkness and spread the light of peace, goodwill and knowledge. Diwali also consists of Lakshmi Puja, wherein Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of power, prosperity and wealth is worshipped. In most parts of the country, the five days of Diwali begin with Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanteras on the first day (auspicious for making purchases), Narkachaturdashi (when Lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasura), Lakshmi Puja, Varsha Pratipada or Padwa (beginning of a new year for the traders and businessmen) and Bhaiyyadooj (celebrates the brother-sister affection).
The growing ethnic and cultural diversity of Hindu religion throughout the world provides the opportunity to participate in the celebrations and rituals of Diwali festival that enhances the feelings of being part of a close-knit group of Indians. Most Diwali celebrations around the world focus on family and friends and it is a time to reflect on the past and envision for a future, perhaps, in a world where people live together in harmony.

Outside India also, as Diwali approaches, people clean their home to escape bad luck in the upcoming year and families gather for a feast and stay up late, celebrating with the help of crackers and sweets. They believe that the Hindu goddess of good luck visits homes that are brightly lit. Children make "diyas" which are small clay lamps to light and bring the good luck goddess to their home so they can receive new clothes and toys. One family may have many thousand of these little diyas decorating their home.

In my next blogs I will take you across those 17 countries wherein they celebrate DIWALI...
Happy Diwali

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