Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated with great pomp and show by Indians across the world. Celebrations for this festival in 2008 would not too different from 2007 despite somber clouds due to the financial crisis that has gripped the entire world.
In the South, the context of Diwali is on a different note based on Lord Krishna slaying Narakasura. People in the South celebrate the festival by waking up early in the mornings, offering prayers, lighting crackers, and having a grand feast.
In the North of India, the context for celebration is a little different. In Hindu mythology, Lord Ram after vanquishing Ravana came back to his kingdom Ayodhya along with Sita. The denizens of Ayodhya celebrated the return of their King by lighting lamps and so the name Deepawali or Diwali.
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On this occasion Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity is also worshiped by people across the country. People whitewash their houses and do away with old belongings and wares prior to this festival as a symbol of making a new beginning and getting the Goddess’s blessing for wealth and prosperity. People light oil lamps on the festival day while many use small bulbs run by electricity to decorate their houses a few days before the festival. On the festival day, sweets of different kinds are prepared by people as well as bought to celebrate. Families buy new clothes which are worn by everybody in the household on that day. In the evening’s prayers are offered to the Almighty which is in the evenings in the North of India. This is followed by lighting crackers an activity in which everybody participates with great enthusiasm. This usually extends late into the night.
If one looks at the festival of Diwali, there are several things that could be learned from it. Happiness and sorrow are part of a cycle and one follows the other. Lighting the lamp is a way to connote that there is a way to light despite pervading darkness. In other words – a hope which lingers and helps people to look forward to better times. The present times are a little tough given the uncertainty over the financial world which has seen a ripple effect on other sectors like manufacturing, FMCG, and others. The developments have dampened the spirits of the people to some extent but one does not need to forget that there are hope and light which will quell darkness.
So light a lamp, illuminate your house and hope for better times to come soon during this Diwali!
Interesting articles/info on Diwali:
Know in detail about the lighting festival Diwali at Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali
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Check out this cool and Special Diwali Festival site for Gifts, Greetings, Recipes, Songs, Decorative Items, and more at DiwaliFestival.org
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