Happy Diwali!

Tuesday is the start of Diwali (or Deepavali).

Last year, we highlighted this explanation of the “Festival of Lights”:

This is perhaps the most well-known of the Indian festivals: it is celebrated throughout India, as well as in Indian communities throughout the diaspora. It usually takes place eighteen days after Dusshera. It is colloquially known as the “festival of lights”, for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. In urban areas, especially, candles are substituted for diyas; and among the nouveau riche, neon lights are made to substitute for candles. The celebration of the festival is invariably accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama’s homecoming, that is his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king; in Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival; similarly, it heralds the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season.

There’s also this from the BBC:

For many Indians this five day festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

People start the new business year at Diwali, and some Hindus will say prayers to the goddess for a successful year.

Lamps are lit to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people’s homes.

They also celebrate one of the Diwali legends, which tells of the return of Rama and Sita to Rama’s kingdom after fourteen years of exile.

I sort of love this: Bollywood stars share their thoughts. There’s even a special Twitter page this year. And I think this is as close to an “official” page as you might find. And a bunch of great photos are right here.

Our house is clean, candles are strewn about (as well as some flowers), and we have a few things we could pray for in the coming year.

Is Dwali something you celebrate?

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

2 thoughts on “Happy Diwali!”

  1. Yes! In our house, it was about a man who was corrupt with power, power earned by tapas & penance when he was a pious devotee of Shiva, who was always a bit too generous with his devotees. With corruption came greed, and he terrorized everyone around him, so no woman was safe from him, not even the mother of the minor gods who lost only her earrings. When at last he was stopped by Vishnu, he repented, and said, since my life caused so much suffering on earth, let my death be celebrated all over with lights. In some ways, one can say he remained power hungry to the end.

    I loved this story of redemption as a child. Later, I learned about the 16,000 women he raped, women who were no longer fit to be wed, etc., so Krishna took them into his harem, where they became sages themselves.

    There are many, many stories and beliefs, but for a child, it was about an oil bath in the morning, new clothes, firecrackers, lights, and sweets.

    Happy Diwali!

  2. very happy Diwali to you too. It reminds me of my childhood. Best day of the year. Firecrackers, the smell of them and the sight of the city go wild.

    Wish you that this year brings prosperity and happiness.

    let the games begin.

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