When: 13th November 2012
Strings of deeps and diyas, platefuls of mithai, the crackle of pattakas and the sparkle of phuljharis, the ruffle-shuffle of cards and the bustle of crowded bazaars. Long nights spent gambling and days full of shopping. That's the festive season of Deepawali - light and bright, all glitter and flash.
History of Diwali
The concept of Diwali began one dark, dark night hundreds of years ago. The night that ended a 14-year long and difficult exile for Rama, King of Ayodhya. That night, his people lit up their houses with earthen lamps to illuminate his way home and set off fireworks to welcome home their beloved king. Hindus continue the tradition by lighting up their homes on Deepawali while children express their delight through a host of loud crackers and bright sparklers.
Down the ages, Deepawali has come to be celebrated for a whole host of reasons - for business communities, it heralds the new year - a fresh start when old accounts are settled and new ledgers opened. The goddess of wealth, Lakshmi and the god of auspicious beginnings, Ganesh are assiduously wooed to ensure prosperity and financial success in the coming year. Deepawali marks the new year for the jain community and it also commemorates the death anniversary of their 23rd Tirthankara Mahavira and his attainment of moksha.
Happily, Deepawali transcends religion and is universally celebrated by Indians in a spirit befitting a festival of light and joy.
Rangoli creation is a tradition in India involving a lot of fun, creativity and hard work. Rangolis are paintings made on the floor with either colorful sawdust, flowers, rice-grains or chalk. The designs are mainly symbolic of the festival such as footprints of goddess Lakshmi, floral patterns, shankh and geometric patterns made by joining dots and lines.
Lighting Lamps 'Diyas'
Diwali, the festival of lights is all about lighting-up every nook and corner of the house with diyas and candles. The significance of lighting lamps on Deepawali is to banish darkness and evil while spreading light of happiness and joy. Filling the house with light and opening the doors and windows also signifies, welcoming the goddess Lakshmi to the house especially during the puja hours. People use decorated diyas and candles for the festival, although traditionally 'earthen lamps' lit with oil and cotton wicks are also widely used. For outdoor decorations, colorful strings of electric lights and rows of diyas adorn their houses.
Fireworks - Burning Crackers
Fireworks symbolize festivity rather than as custom or tradition on Diwali. The use of fire crackers on Diwali in an expression of celebration and another way of spreading light over the night darkness. Although burning of crackers has been popular activity of the festival amongst all age groups, yet the environmental concerns regarding noise and air pollutions have lead people to encourage Deepawali celebrations without crackers. Well, whether it is an environmental safe Diwali or flashing Diwali with crackers - the spirit and enjoyment remains the same.