Full of light and celebration, Diwali’s name defines its mission: It truly is the Festival of Lights. This Hindu festival is one of the biggest of Hindu festivals and focuses on forgiveness, celebrating life, and understanding the goodness of humanity. For five days in the fall, fireworks and sweets are coupled with ancient traditions. The lights symbolize victory over darkness or evil. Celebrated around the world, this festival is a colorful and joyous occasion that focuses on forgiveness, love, and prosperity.
Celebration of Life
The Festival of Lights celebrates the victory of good over evil. Lord Krishna is celebrated for overcoming the demon Naraka and tyrant Bali. The lamps and fireworks that accompany the festivities are supposed to symbolize light over darkness and the pursuit of knowledge instead of ignorance. This is a chance for people to reaffirm hope and to renew commitments to friendship and community. Thus, homes are cleansed, new clothes are worn, and lights line homes, businesses, and communities.
The Lights of Diwali
Lamps, lights, and fireworks are huge during Diwali. Shops and public places are usually filled with small oil lamps called diyas. These earthware items operate using mustard oil, and are placed in rows in windows, doors, and outside of structures. Such light is supposed to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find different homes and businesses. Additionally, it’s supposed to celebrate the mythology of Rama and Sita returning to Rama’s kingdom after living in exile for 14 years. In India, these lamps are sent across the Ganges River. Fireworks are used for their light and to celebrate this important event. Some even say that the sound of the crackers helps the gods hear the joy of the people on Earth.
Forgiveness and Renewal
Diwali is based in forgiveness and hope. Thus, people mend their ties with friends and families, and there is a renewed commitment to community and charity. This is a chance for people to move together without worrying about judgment. Past wrongdoing is usually worked out on this day: families and friends come together in a new way. People wake as early as 4am to practice spiritual and ethical discipline. People bathe with scented oils, wear new clothes, wake early, and give gifts to celebrate hope and light and to ward off darkness and evil.
Gambling and the Festival of Lights
Gambling is common during Diwali because the day is so strongly linked to wealth and prosperity. This tradition is often linked to the legend that the Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiva, and that this Goddess decreed gamblers on this day would prosper during the year.
Gift Giving during Diwali
It is common to exchange gift during The Festival of Lights. Traditional gifts include sweets and dried fruit. Because the event is linked to wealth, shopping is huge during this time. Businesses often find this to be a prosperous time: Sales often pique the weeks before Diwali. Often, people buy new clothes for themselves and for their families and some employers may even buy clothes for their employees.
Businesses and Diwali
Businesses see Diwali has a positive and fun day. Often, such groups will not only decorate shops with bright lights but will also wait to begin their new accounting year on this day. This is because the festival is closely linked to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Diwali is also seen as a chance to celebrate and pray for the next successful harvest. Shopping is huge during this time, since gift-giving is also a tradition during the Festival of Lights, and many businesses see huge boosts in profits. This is why so many employers not only decorate their businesses but also give gifts to employees. The spirit of giving is alive and well during Diwali.
There are many different stories and myths linked to Diwali. In each legend, there is a commonality: the victory of goodness over evil. For example, one myth celebrates Lord Krishna defeating the demon Narakaasura, who terrorized thousands of daughters of gods and stole earrings from Aditi, the mother of the gods. Another version has Lord Krishna defeating the tyrant, Bali, who was sent to hell only to return once a year to light lamps pushing away darkness and ignorance. Another legend details Rama killing the demon Ravana to recover his wife, Sita. When the couple returned home, it was a dark night and they couldn’t see. Thus, people place lamps inside the home so the king and queen can find their way home.
Diwali is a chance for people to come together. Hope reigns supreme during this Festival of Lights. The bright lights lining rivers, businesses, and homes make the world seem more magical, which is why there is a renewed sense of freedom and friendliness during this annual festival. During this time, people truly can believe that good can overcome evil and that there truly is a silver lining in every dark cloud.