What is Diwali and How it’s Celebrated? by Paramesh Das
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a Hindu festival of lights, mainly celebrated in India. The word ‘Dipavali‘ is a Sanskrit word, which actually means rows of lighted candles. Over the years, Diwali has become one of the most popular national festivals of India, marked by most Indians regardless of faith and religions.
Why it’s celebrated and special?
In the Northern parts of India, Diwali is considered as a festival celebrated as a mark of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana. The North Indians celebrate Diwali by lighting rows of candles and clay lamps. On the contrary, in South India, Diwali is considered the day when Lord Bishnu defeated the horrible demon Narakasura. In West Bengal, people celebrate Diwali by lighting candles and burning firecrackers.
Diwali is considered India’s biggest and most popular holiday in a calendar year. Hindus celebrate this festival by lighting “clay lamps” or ‘candles’ at their house to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. The festival is very special to the Indians and is as important to Hindus as Christmas is special to the Christians.
Why it would be good to do a ritual or have temple Pundits do rituals for you during the festival days?
Just like any other Hindu festival, Diwali is an act of ritual which is a common thread that has linked Indians throughout the years. Rituals are actually good as they motivate us. We Indians build communities with rituals and express our joy and sorrow through different types of rituals. While some may dismiss the practice of rituals performed during festivals like Diwali, saying these are all old-fashioned, rituals that are performed in Indian culture are actually an essential part of human being. All of the rituals, which the temple Pundits perform during the festivals, are actually a series of consistent actions that are being carried out for ages for a specific purpose.
Being a Hindu myself, I consider Diwali as an important festival and celebrate the same to the fullest. Every year I decorate my house with colorful LED bulbs and light series of candles. I leave all the windows of my house open and make sure no room is dark. During the Diwali, I always leave my doors open for my guests and welcome them with traditional Indian sweets. Another reason why I love Diwali so much is that it’s the day when I light firecrackers with my relatives and friends.