Diwali: Festival of Lights
This Article was written by Kshitij Shinde, Year 9
Diwali is the Indian festival of lights. It usually lasts five to six days and is celebrated two to three weeks into November. This year, Diwali falls on the 14th of November. It is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism and is a favorite for many Indian kids around the world. Diwali symbolises the victory of good over evil (the victory of Ram- the incarnation of god, over Ravan- the demon king.)
The Story of Diwali:
A long time ago, there was a king named Dashrath, who was the king of Ayodhya. He really wanted a son, so he went on a mountain and prayed for years. Finally, the God Vishnu came down to earth as Ram, Dashrath’s son, along with his brother, laxman. He grew up to be a pure hearted and kind prince. He soon married Sita, a princess, and incarnation of Laxmi, goddess of wealth and Vishnu’s wife, by proving his worth. But his stepmother wanted her son, Bharat to be king and sent Ram, Sita and Laman into exile for fourteen years.
But while they were in exile, the demon king Ravan- the ten headed demon king, took Sita hostage in order to marry her. When Ram found out, he went on a journey with Laxman in order to get her back. On the way he found the Vanars, a clan of monkeys like humanoid people. Ram made an alliance with the Vanars and together their army, led by Hanuman, the Vanar prince and incarnation of Shiva, God of destruction, Ram and Laxman set off to defeat Ravan once and for all.
After many months of walking across India, they finally reached Sri Lanka, where Ravan’s empire as well as Sita were. He called out to Ravan and he came along with his entire army of demons. However, the Vanars being no match for the the Vanars, killed the demon army in minutes. Finally Ravan was fighting Ram, was killed when Ram shot a Divine Arrow at his navel. Ravan was defeated forever.
He finally found Sita and the divine lovers were reunited. After fourteen years were finally over; they went back to Ayodhya. As a welcome to their king , the residents of the sacred city lit lamps everywhere, Ram and Sita were finally put on the place as the King and Queen.
What People Do During Diwali :
To remember the events of Diwali, people light lamps and firecrackers (people light earthen lamps called diyas in hindi) all around the house and outside. During the festival, children also color the lamps with paint and other materials and these are usually lit with ghee (clarified butter) or oil. This is to symbolise that light and good is always present in the house and there is no place for darkness. Children also use firecrackers to have fun and keep the tradition going
People also make rangolis, which are basically large designs made using colored sand. They are usually in the circular patterns and use a variety of colors and shapes.
My favorite part are the sweets and snacks, including jalebis, shankarpali, kheer (and more...)
The 3 Main Days of Diwali :
Dhanteras is the first day that marks the festival of Diwali in India. It is celebrated by families buying Gold and other precious metals for their family and friends.
Lakshmi Pooja, it is celebrated on the third day of Dewali and is considered as the main festive day. This is also where people worship the Goddess, Laxmi by honouring her for giving them wealth and prosperity.
This happens the next day after Laxmi Puja festival. It symbolises the celebration of any Brother-Sister like relationship due to the relationship between Sita and Laxman.
Diwali is not as simple as people think it is, but it is one of the core aspects of Indian society. It is also a large reason as to why Indians are as cooperative and open minded about religion as they are. It is more of the social unity of Indian people, as even Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs take part in the festivities.
So there you have it! Your mini guide about Diwali.
Thanks for reading!