Firecrackers, lights, sweets, colors, conversations, friends and family are the many protagonists of Diwali, India’s blockbuster festival Diwali that takes place on Nov 13 this year.
With the triumph of good over evil at its heart, this festival of lights sends the entire nation into a frenzy of never ending fun and merriment. Hindu mythology defines Diwali as the celebration of the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana and his triumphant return to his kingdom. Epics hold stories that Rama’s followers ensured his safe return by illuminating his path with streams of little earthen oil lamps called ‘diyas’. That is essentially what Diwali means in Sanskrit – a row of lights.
Amidst the razzle dazzle of the fireworks, spirituality takes center stage as the nation worships Lakshmi – The Goddess of Wealth and Ganesh – The God of Auspicious Beginnings. Diwali also marks the onset of the New Year according to the Hindu calendar when people pray for prosperity, well-being and happiness for the year that awaits.
A month before Diwali, people go into a whirlwind of spring cleaning. Houses are uncluttered, shops are spruced up, and marketplaces burst at the seams with people shopping for clothes, sweets, gifts, trinkets and decorations. There is this wonderfully exuberant festive fervor in the air, which marks the onset of celebration, food and happiness.
Amidst this kaleidoscope of colors and lights, people adorn their homes with gorgeous lanterns, dot their windowsills with diyas and decorate their porches with traditional powdered chalk designs called the ‘Rangoli’. Women whip up a gazillion delicacies and goodies as families and neighborhoods unite in celebration. Children get together to burst firecrackers while adults immerse themselves in conversations and playing card sessions that go on through the night.
Yes, Diwali is indeed a time when India comes to life!
Main image source: here