Diwali – Festival of Lights

Hindu’s the world over will be celebrating Diwali also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights on the 8th & 9th November, 2007 . The word dÄ«pa or deeya means earthen lamp.

At Diwali, lamps are lit indoors and outdoors. There are several stories which describe the reason for the celebration. The one I am most familiar with is the return of Lord Rama and Sita from the forest to reclaim their throne in the city of Ayodha.

To ease Rama’s return, citizens lit lamps so that he could find his way back at night. As Rama walked through the country the citizens celebrated his return a day earlier in the South with the Northerner’s celebrating the next day.

When we were little we used to clean the house thoroughly, including washing the walls, windows and every nook and cranny. We wore new clothes and enjoyed wonderful, exotic food and sweetmeats. Families visited and exchanged platters of sweetmeats and cookies. In the evening a prayer was performed, lamps were lit and we celebrated with dinner and fireworks. Neighbors all around lit fireworks and it was was always a special time for families as everyone watched the displays together.

As with most Hindu festivals, there is always another deeper meaning associated with the myths that give rise to the celebrations. Light is  meant to signify that darkness in our hearts can be overcome with light or truth.

Although it is good to spring clean our homes, it is also an opportunity to look within and cleanse the pain and enmity we may hold. It is a time to  ease off  the need for retaliation  and find new ways to cope with difficult times.

Diwali is  a time to celebrate  together with family and friends. It encourages congeniality, sharing,  caring, peace and harmony.

Do you have any special memories of Diwali? Give me your comments on how Diwali impacts your life. For more articles of interest on quality living visit the links on the right.

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