Skip to main content

Diwali - The Festival Of Lights

— by Parmita Borah | Bangalore
Earthen lamps adorn the ground, while bright multihued crackers light up the night sky. Diwali or Deepawali, the festival of lights is one of the biggest festivals in Hinduism, with major celebrations in India, Canada, Trinidad, Guyana, UK, Fiji, United States and other countries around the world.

The festival is celebrated for two days between mid-October and mid-November (depending on lunar movement). The Hindus celebrate it with great pomp and joy. They light their houses, courtyards and backyards with earthen lamps or diyas. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. Fire rcrackers, sweets, exchange of gifts and even gambling are very important part of the celebrations.

The Hindus have more than one reason to celebrate Diwali, the most prominent one being the return of Lord Rama after rescuing his wife from the clutches of Ravana. According to the great epic ‘Mahabharata’, it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). Hindus also celebrate the birth of Goddess Lakshmi during this festival. Some also believe that Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali on Diwali.

Diwali holds significantce for the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists as well. According to the Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC. It is believed that the chief disciple of Mahavira, Gandhara Gautam Swami attained complete knowledge i.e. Kevalgyana on this very day. More reasons to celebrate. According to the Buddhists, Emperor Ashoka took his voluntary retirement from a reign of power, and converted to Buddhism on the auspicious occasion of Diwali. Therefore they sometimes refer to Diwali as Ashok Vijayadashami, decorate their temples and monasteries, chant Mantras and remember the great emperor Ashoka on Diwali.

For the Sikhs, Diwali celebrations follow the celebration of Bandi Chhorh Divas – the day of freedom, celebrating the release the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji and other 52 princes in 1619. The Sikh tradition holds that the Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned Guru Hargobind Ji and 52 princes. Emperor Jahangir agreed to release Guru Hargobind Ji but put a condition that only those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison. He was under the impression that such a move would restrict the number of princes to be released. Guru Hargobind Ji, the smart dude that he was, got a cloak designed with 52 pieces of strings, made his 52 princes hold on to them and walked out as Emperor Jahangir watched with his mouth gaped wide open. Quoting the McDonald’s famous punchlinen here ‘I’m loving it’. Sikhs celebrated the return of their Guru by lighting the Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) and this tradition continues today.

The name “Diwali” is a contraction of “Deepavali”, which roughly translates into “row of lamps”. While the story behind Deepavali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region (festive fireworks, worship, lights, sharing of sweets), the essence is the same – to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying Reality of all things (Brahman).

Traditionally, Diwali is celebrated across 2 continuous days. On these auspicious days, people light up diyas and candles all around their homes and businesses; although with a huge population settled comfortably in urban domiciles earthen lamps and candles get replaced with electronic products like neon lights and LED displays. A horde of marketing offers, cultural shows featuring Bollywood stars and film releases also accompany Diwali celebrations in India.

Diwali frenzy reaches fever pitch in India this year with the release of the much awaited Indian superhero flick, Ra.One, starring Sharukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal in the lead roles. A few days past that India will witness it’s first ever F1 racing event, followed by… hold your breath - a Metallica concert!


Popular posts from this blog

10 music fests in North East India you don't want to miss

— compiled by Debjani Hazarika Northeast India is known as the land of festivals and culture. From the beginning, people of this part of the world have been indulging in merriment and diversion. Hence, the music, dance and other forms of art are the integral parts of everyday life. Apart from traditional festivals, since the commencement of television and social media, many young enthusiasts came up with the idea of organising different music events and festivals where local and acclaimed musicians can showcase their talents. Some of the festivals are funded by the state governments while the rest organised with the help of private sponsorship. Here is a list of some of the music and cultural fests we thought you would love to attend if you are into music and adventure. Hornbill Festival (Nagaland) Hornbill Festival 2012, Nagaland (photo: Sudeepta Barua) WHAT? Hornbill Festival WHEN? December WHERE? Naga Heritage Village, Kohima, Nagaland The Hornbill Festival is a celebra

16 Rock Bands from North-East India you don't want to miss

North-East India is very rich in music, dance, tradition and culture. All the eight states of North-East India have something to offer for rock music lovers. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is also known as 'Rock Capital of India'. Some of the festivals promoting rock music of the region like Hornbill Festival of Nagaland and Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh are quite famous among music lovers. The region gave birth to many well known and respected Rock bands since the 60's. We have compiled a list of 16 (sixteen) comparatively new bands we love listening to all the time. Of course, there are various other bands apart from these sixteen bands who have made their mark on the Rock music scenario of India. We will post about those bands in our next segment. The Vinyl Records (Arunachal Pradesh) | photo: Facebook The Vinyl Records (Arunachal Pradesh) - Formed in February 2010, The Vinyl Records is an All-girl Rock band. They have performed in well

Healing power of music: Binaural Beats sound for cough relief | music therapy & meditation

A cough is a common reflex action that clears the throat of mucus or foreign irritants. A cough that lasts between 3 and 8 weeks, improving by the end of that period, is a subacute cough. A persistent cough that lasts more than eight weeks is a chronic cough. There are various ways to treat cough and other lungs and throat problems. From allopathy to homeopathy, from ayurvedic treatment to alternate medicines. Today, we are going to discuss about another unique way to treat the general irritation of the throat. Please note, prescribed medications from a doctor needs to be continued while taking this treatment. We are going to talk about sound waves which can give relief to a patient who is undergoing treatment for cough. People who have general cough and cold problem due to change of weather can get rid of cough and irritation in no time. We will be using binaural beats therapy to treat our cough problem. If you are having a sore throat or a regular throat irritation, plea