India is known as the land of festivals because of its cultural diversity, faith, and religious beliefs among people of different religions.
Diwali is the biggest and one of the most famous and light-hearted festivals which is celebrated by billions of people. It is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout India and by also Indians in foreign countries.
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Hindu Festival of Lights
Diwali is known as the Hindu festival of lights which is a widely celebrated festival by Hindus. Diwali is celebrated in the month of October and November, 20 days after the festival of Dussehra. Diwali marks the victory of good over evil.
History Behind Diwali
Diwali’s roots can be traced back to Hindu mythology, where ancient tales narrate the story of Lord Rama, an incarnation of the God Vishnu. Lord Rama, the son of Dashratha, the ruler of Ayodhya, was a valiant warrior king. Due to a scheme plotted by his stepmother, he was forced into a fourteen-year exile. Lord Rama, devoted to his duty as a son, accepted the exile without hesitation. His wife, Sita, and brother, Lakshman, stood by his side and accompanied him to the forest.
Towards the end of their exile, Ravana, the powerful king of Lanka, became captivated by Sita’s beauty and abducted her, taking her to Lanka. In response, Rama and Lakshman embarked on a mission to rescue Sita, aided by Hanuman, Lord Rama’s greatest devotee. Eventually, Lord Rama vanquished Ravana and successfully rescued his beloved wife. Upon their return to Ayodhya, the people warmly welcomed Rama, Sita, and Lakshman by illuminating the entire city with rows of clay lamps and setting off fireworks. This grand celebration symbolized the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, representing the victory of good over evil. In present times, Diwali is celebrated with a similar spirit.
People start preparations fifteen days in advance, cleaning and decorating their homes. New clothes are bought and worn on this auspicious day. As evening approaches, houses are adorned with tube lights, clay lamps (known as diyas), and candles, symbolically dispelling darkness and inviting the presence of deities. According to Hindu beliefs, Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is believed to visit homes and bestow prosperity. To welcome the goddess, Hindus worship Lakshmi, light candles and diyas at their doorways, and leave their doors open.
Diwali brings immense joy and enthusiasm to people’s lives. It serves as an occasion to strengthen bonds with loved ones. Sweets are prepared at home and distributed among friends and relatives. Invitations are extended to near and dear ones, and visits to relatives and friends are made, accompanied by the exchange of gifts and dry fruits.
However, Diwali celebrations also come with certain drawbacks. Due to carelessness, accidents can occur while bursting crackers, resulting in harm to individuals and damage to property. Additionally, the smoke and noise generated by fireworks can pose health problems and contribute to increased pollution levels. Government authorities often advise caution and encourage the use of environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as sky candles, while discouraging the use of firecrackers.
Diwali transcends regional and religious boundaries, making it a festival celebrated across the entire country. It represents the triumph of good over evil and instills faith in performing virtuous deeds. Diwali is a day of happiness, joy, and the eradication of negativity. It is celebrated with great fervor in every town and city of India, as well as by Indians residing abroad. As a festival that unites people, Diwali has been cherished in India for thousands of years and continues to be celebrated with unwavering enthusiasm today. This festival not only brings joy and light to individual homes but also strengthens the social fabric of communities as people come together to celebrate and share in the festivities.
Diwali is a time of immense preparation and anticipation. In the weeks leading up to the festival, households undergo a thorough cleaning and renovation to welcome the goddess Lakshmi. Decorations are meticulously arranged, with colorful rangoli patterns adorning doorsteps and floors, and vibrant garlands adorning entrances. The entire atmosphere is filled with a sense of anticipation and excitement.
On the day of Diwali, families gather for prayers and rituals. They seek the blessings of deities and offer prayers of gratitude for the abundance and prosperity bestowed upon them. Temples are beautifully adorned, and devotees flock to seek divine blessings.
As evening descends, the true spectacle of Diwali begins. Homes are illuminated with a mesmerizing display of lights, lamps, and candles. The soft glow of diyas flickers in every corner, spreading warmth and joy. Fireworks light up the sky, filling it with dazzling colors and patterns, accompanied by the sound of laughter and cheer. The entire atmosphere resonates with the spirit of celebration and unity.
One of the significant aspects of Diwali is the exchange of gifts and sweets. Friends, relatives, and neighbors visit each other’s homes, sharing in the festive spirit. Exquisite sweets and delicacies are prepared, reflecting the culinary diversity of India. The exchange of gifts symbolizes love, affection, and goodwill, fostering strong bonds among individuals.
However, in recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of Diwali celebrations. The excessive use of firecrackers has raised concerns about air pollution and its adverse effects on human health and the environment. In response, many individuals and communities have taken the initiative to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali. They opt for noise-free and low-pollution fireworks, emphasize the use of organic and biodegradable materials for decorations, and promote awareness campaigns to encourage responsible and sustainable celebrations.
Diwali is not limited to India alone; it is celebrated by Indians residing in different parts of the world. Indian communities come together, organizing cultural events, musical performances, and fireworks displays to recreate the festive atmosphere of their homeland. Diwali has become a symbol of Indian identity and is recognized globally as a festival that transcends boundaries and unites people in joy and celebration.
In conclusion, Diwali holds a significant place in Indian culture and is celebrated with unparalleled enthusiasm and devotion. It represents the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. The festival showcases India’s rich heritage, unity, and diversity. As a festival of lights, Diwali spreads brightness, happiness, and love, unites people, and inspires them to strive for a better world.
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