Diwali Festival of Lights

Diwali derived from the Sanskrit word Deepavali Deepa = light Avali = a row Diwali = Deepavali = A row of Light

Diwali is celebrated in the months of October/November on one of the darkest night (Amavasya) of this period. Hindus in India and across the globe celebrate Diwali. Diwali celebrations can last up to five days. Each region of the country celebrating the triumph of good over evil in a uniquely regional way.

Celebrations Include
Lighting of Diyas or earthen lamps in every corner of homes.

Decoration of homes in multi-colored and floral design (Rangoli).

Visits to the temples and offerings to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Spiritual and material prosperity

Celebrations Include
Purchase of new Clothes

Exchange of sweets with friends and neighbors.

Fireworks

Significance of Diwali
Significance of Diwali is based on spirituality, beliefs, myths and legends of the triumph of good over evil. Illumination of the diyas symbolizes the removal of spiritual darkness and the onset of wisdom or light. In Northern India Diwali is a celebration of the welcome given to Lord Rama, of the great Hindu epic The Ramayana, by his subjects after 14 years of exile from his kingdom. Lord Rama destroys the evil ruler of Lanka, Ravan. Diwali is also the start of the new year for Hindus in the northern regions of India.

The Triumph of good over evil
Lord Krishna destroying the evil demon Narkasura for abducting the females of the community.

In Southern India Diwali is celebrated for the triumph of Lord Vishnu over Hirnaykshipu an evil and unjust king.

Namaste

• Two palms placed together in front of chest with head bows while saying NAMASTE • Etymon: Namah + te • I bow to you or my salutations to you • Folded hands • May our minds meet - real meeting between people • Bowing of head • Gracious form of extending friendship in love and humility

• Higher spiritual meeting • The life force, the Divinity, the Self or the god in me is the same in all • Palm of one hand is the SELF in me, and the palm of the other is the SELF in the other • Meeting of palms recognizes this ONENESS • NAMASTE = we salute the Divinity in the person we meet

Lighting a Lamp
• Lamps lit for daily worship, rituals and festivals • Symbolizes KNOWLEDGE, as opposed to darkness or ignorance • Knowledge is lasting INNER wealth – lamp is lit to bow down knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth • God is “Knowledge Principle”, the source of all knowledge; thus light is worshipped as the Lord Himself • Oil or ghee in lamp – our “vasanas” or negative tendencies • Wick – the ego

• When lit by spiritual knowledge, the “vasanas’ get slowly exhausted, and the ego too finally perishes • Flame burns upwards • Similarly, acquire knowledge so as to take us towards higher ideals A single lamp can light hundreds • Similarly a man of knowledge can share knowledge with others without diminishing his own knowledge

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