Diwali: Celebrating a Festival of Lights

By Laura Aviles, Staff Writer

The 29th and 30th of October is the celebration of the Diwali festival, which is the most celebrated Indian festival and one of the most important holidays of the year. Diwali is a very important holiday for Hindus, much like Christmas is very important to Christians. In fact, as India is a multicultural country, the festival has spread to different religions and is now celebrated by all of the population as a national festival. It is an official holiday in many countries, including Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The date can vary from year to year, but it falls between Mid-October and Mid-November.

The word Diwali has its roots from clay lamps (deepa) and row or line (avali). Historically, the festival marks the last harvest of the year before winter. In this celebration of lights, people seek for the blessing of the goddess of wealth “Lakshmi,” who is worshiped to provide prosperity. The history of this five-day festival has been related before and can be seen here. The significance and the different ways to celebrate is yet another story. Learning about Diwali can help T-birds from all around the world know how to celebrate it with our Indian friends.

Photo courtesy of easyday.snydle.com

Let’s celebrate!
Throughout the various interpretations, there is a common one: this a celebration of good over evil. It is a victory of light over darkness. People turn on lights to invite Lakshmi in and pray for success in the financial year. So if you are wondering how you can join this celebration, your search ends here. Here are some points to consider to invite prosperity in:
– Clean up houses and offices.
– Shop for gold or kitchen utensils.
– Close your accounting book and pray for success.
– Turn on lights, glitter clay lamps, bonfires and fireworks.
– Share the sweets with friends and family.
Spending time with family is the most important part of it. Here are some comments on how our Indian T-birds celebrate Diwali:

Diwali is popularly known as the festival of lights. Lighting up the entire house with ´diyas ´ was my favorite part of the festival. Offering prayers to Goddess Lakshmi in the evening, wearing new clothes, playing cards, eating mouth-watering Indian delicacies/sweets are some of the highlights of the celebrations in every Indian household. Diwali also symbolizes hope and light dispelling all darkness. So, let us all joins hands to light up each other’s lives. Happy Diwali!” – Devika Chaturvedi, MGM ’17.

My family has a tradition of attending our Gurdwara (church) during the day time and there we light a candle to eradicate the darkness. The house is usually lit up with candles and colorful decorations. The best part is coming together with everyone in the neighborhood and the beautiful colors of lights from the fireworks.” – Anisha Saini, MGM ’17.

Diwali is celebrated with family and friends by decorating home with flowers, electric lights, and oil lamps and performing puja (a ritual involved offering prayers and seeking blessings). Also, in schools and colleges, this was a time where a lot of activities were involved in giving back to the community and helping the underprivileged.” – Yashwant Neti, MGM ’17.

Want to join the party?
The Indian Sub-Continent Club its celebrating Diwali on Sunday, October 30th, at the TEC around 6pm. There will be opportunities to learn about the Diwali traditions, light a candle, dance to Indian music, and enjoy some Indian food. Don’t miss it!

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