Compared to Christianity and Judaism, Hinduism is a minority religion in the United States, so people may be less aware of its holidays. If you hear “Diwali” and think of Michael Scott in the office, the start of the festive holiday this week is the perfect time to clear your true story.
Known as the “Festival of Lights”, Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India and lasts for five days. The main celebration, takes place on the third day, which is Sunday this year.
Like the Jewish calendar, the Hindu calendar in the Gregorian calendar follows a lunar cycle, not a solar one. Although Diwali is always celebrated on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartik, the corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year.
Diwali is sometimes associated with the Sanskrit word Deepavali which means “row upon row”, and lighting plays an integral role in the festival. In Diwali, people decorate their homes and businesses with oil lamps called dias and display huge fireworks.
The main theme of the holiday is the celebration of good victory over evil and light conquering darkness. However, the story of Diwali may vary depending on where one lives.
According to National Geographic, the story for them in northern India centers on the return of the god Rama after defeating the giant king Ravana. Further south, Lord Krishna marks the day of defeating Narakasur. The people of western India have described it as a reminder of Lord Vishnu’s sending the demon king Bali to rule the world.
In addition to celebrating the victory of good over evil, Diwali is a time to honor Lakshmi, the goddess of Hindu wealth. According to the Times of India, people will be able to secure their homes for free on Sunday and some may open doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi to their homes, the Times of India reported. According to the Hindu American Foundation, people will also wear new clothes to thank Lakshmi for bringing prosperity and good fortune, and sweet and fun snacks are consumed without guilt.
Although Diwali is usually associated with Hinduism, different religions celebrate the festival in their own way. According to the Hindu American Foundation, the Sikhs celebrate it as the release of Guru Hargobind from captivity, and the Jains consider it a day to attain enlightenment. For some Buddhists, the day is a time to remember the moment when Ashoka Vijayadashami embraced Buddhism as his faith.
Like the happy holidays of other religions, Diwali is also about food. It’s time to celebrate a festival with family and friends. Celebrations in India are often the most extensive and expansive, people around the world come to feel the festival Diwali.