All about Diwali by Veena Sharma
"To celebrate on Diwali, we start the evening by praying and reflect on life and make changes for the upcoming year."
Diwali, is one of the most well-known festivals in Hindu culture. Diwali is known as the “festival of lights”, it is generally a five-day celebration where families and friends get together. It is the biggest and brightest of all Hindu festivals.
We light divas (candles) around the house, pathways and decorate the outside of the house with lights. I create my own Rangoli on my pathway and draw Diva’s in coloured chalk. It is considered auspicious as it signifies showering of good luck and prosperity on the house and the family.
Diwali also symbolises good over evil and light over darkness. Lord Rama defeats the Rakshasas King of Lanka, the 10 headed demon - Ravana. He returns home after his conquest and lights were left on to guide him back home to his castle in Ayodhya after living in exile for 14 years.
One thing my Mum always told me to do on Diwali was to switch on all the lights in the house and leave them on until the morning – when I asked why she would say How will Lord Ram and Sita find their way back home if our lights are not on. To this day I keep my lights on all night.
To celebrate on Diwali, we start the evening by praying and reflect on life and make changes for the upcoming year. After prayers we play games such as Carom Board (Indian board game) and card games. We eat Indian sweets, savouries, and have a hefty Indian meal. We also go to families and friends houses to deliver Indian sweets and wish them a Happy Diwali. To end the night we light fireworks and bright up the skies to celebrate Diwali and to welcome in our new year.
We also believe that our Goddess Lakshmi, brings wealth on this day and we believe in keeping our house clean to welcome her. My house is spotless on Diwali!
Diwali, is not just about burning divas and celebrating but also a time where we ask for forgiveness so inner peace is discovered. It can also soften the hardest of hearts and is a time when people mingle about in joy and embrace one another.
The day after Diwali is New Year’s Day, so the celebrations continue.
May this Diwali bring you peace, prosperity, success, health and happiness.