What is Diwali?
One of the most well known and loved Hindu festivals, Diwali meaning a ‘row of lighted lamps’ is approaching. Better known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, it is generally acknowledged to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil. To represent this, small earthenware oil lamps are placed around windows of homes and shops and places of worship.
Legends and reasons behind the celebrations
- The Hindu Lord Rama returned from fourteen years of exile after the defeat of Ravana; the citizens of Ayodhya, overjoyed at his return, illuminated the entire city with earthen lamps
- Goddess Lakshmi’s (goddess of wealth) birthday. People start the new business year at Diwali, with blessings beings sought and prayers said to Lakshmi for a successful year. They light lamps to help Lakshmi find her way into their homes
- For those of the Jain faith, Mahavir, considered to be the founder of modern Jainism, attained nirvana on Diwali day
- The third Sikh Guru Amar Das made Diwali a day when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Guru’s blessings
- In Nepal, Diwali celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakaasura
- In Bengal, Diwali is associated with the goddess Kali. Kali is known to destroy evil and fights for justice. Through prayers, people seek her blessings for happiness, prosperity and protection against hardships
Preparing and celebrating
- Spring cleaning is a must as a way to usher in new energy into your environment
- It’s a great time to go shopping, especially for clothes and jewellery. Wearing new clothes during Diwali is a must for those who can afford it
- Decorate the entrance to your home or business with a colourful motif called ‘rangoli’. This bright and vibrant design welcomes Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and of course, your friends and family
- Make sweets, snacks, and savouries to offer friends and relatives who come to visit. These are traditional offerings for Diwali and are also sent as gifts
- Light small lamps or tea lights at night around the home. These lamps symbolise inner light which dispels darkness and brings inner peace
- Get together with friends and family, light fireworks and have a blast
- Send Diwali cards to friends and relatives, especially those who you will not be able to meet in person. Keeping in touch is extremely important at Diwali.
Ananya has a wonderful array of bright, colourful Diwali cards to pick from; you’re sure to find the right ones for all your friends and family.
Check out our Diwali Pinterest board for more ideas and images.