Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a five-day Hindu festival of lights and is celebrated not only around India but also in many parts of the world. An exquisite festival that brightens the country with its sheer magic and dazzles people with ecstasy and celebration.
The festival symbolizes welcoming Goddess Laxmi, which is known for bringing wealth, by lighting up homes with diyas, artificial lighting and lamps, followed by a feast for family, friends and relatives. Almost all the homes have a mesmerizing ambiance during the festival that brings a sense of peace and virtuosity to the family members.
The festival also sees people wearing beautiful exquisite ethnic outfits that adds more charm to the occasion. Men are being seen wearing ethnic designer kurtas, pyjamas and chappals, while most of the women of all age groups can be seen in elegant attires such as designer lehengna, saris, gagras and other unique outfits, exhibiting the style quotient.
The origin of Diwali
The festival’s origin can be found back in ancient India when it was started as an important harvest festival, but several historians and legends have described the origins of Diwali from a different perspective.
Many believe that the festival marks the wedding between Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. The festival is most likely a tribute to their blissful marriage. Others feel it to be a celebration of Lakshmi’s birthday, as the Goddess is believed to have been born on the new-moon day of Kartik.
In some parts of India such as Bengal, the festival is devoted to the worship of the powerful goddess Kali, the dark deity of strength. The elephant god Lord Ganesha is also worshipped in some houses on Diwali because he is an emblem of propitiousness and prudence. Meanwhile, in some Jain homes, Diwali has the added importance of celebrating the great event of Lord Mahavira achieving the immortal bliss called nirvana.
Diwali is not celebrated among Hindus alone, but the festival has equal significance among Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. As a popular belief says that Diwali often signifies the homecoming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, after his 14 years of exile and triumph over Ravana.
The people of kingdom Ayodhya welcomes Lord Rama with diyas light up all over the kingdom. Therefore, the ritual of lighting oil lamps on Diwali embodies the triumph of good over evil and freedom from spiritual darkness.
Importance of Diwali
The lights and diyas all over the house signify the elimination of dark shadows and evil, with prayers and love among people symbolizes the blissful atmosphere full of righteousness and purity. The festival not only brings positivity but also fills everyone’s heart with an aura of purity and joyfulness with compassion.
Diwali is not only about celebration and lighting up diyas, but it also is a time to reflect on one’s life, past deeds and introspection about the future with humbleness. It also celebrates forgiveness and buries the grudges and bitterness among people.
The festival infuses fresh energy, positivity and compassion in people and rejuvenates their soul. It also signifies a healthy environment and being empathic towards the needy ones.
The most important factor of celebrating Diwali is illuminating the evil inside in you which distracts your life journey and fills your heart with greed, jealousy, anger, dark thoughts and ego. It brings prosperity and peace to everyone’s lives.
Diwali during coronavirus
As the people wait every year to celebrate the festival to the fullest, however, this year the celebration seems to have taken a backseat due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most people are going to remain indoors and get together may not be grand.
People appear to be slightly sad this year because the Diwali festival may not be celebrated with much zest and zeal and there would restrictions for a get-together. Nandan Padalia, a banker at Ahmedabad, (Gujarat), says Diwali is not going to be that grand this year due to COVID-19.
“Usually, I celebrate Diwali with my family and then relatives come over for dinner and gambling, but this year, the story is different due to coronavirus pandemic. I am little sad, but never mind, I still can enjoy the festival with my family”, he said.
Diwali is not popular in India but also among a sizeable Asian population, especially Indians living in the UK. Abhay Chrungoo, an engineer living in Northwood, London, says the Diwali celebration is usually a big gala and generally we celebrate here with our friends.
“Every year on Diwali, I host a party and invite all my friends of all races and religions. However, this year, it is going to be a private affair due to the covid and that makes me sad”, Chrungoo added.
Similarly, an Indian student Siddhant Ojha at London’s King’s College says he had planned to travel back to India but covid has created a roadblock. “Since I can’t travel back to India, so I, along with my friends, are celebrating Diwali in the University accommodation. We will light lamps and organize feast”, he said.
In a view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Diwali celebrations may not see a people-to-people affair but there are ways where the festival can be celebrated virtually.
Here are ways Diwali can be celebrated this year:
Use sky lanterns instead of firecrackers
Leave a sky lantern from the terrace of your building and see it fly away, representing the beauty of the festival. More so, fewer firecrackers would help with pollution.
Don’t restrict the sweets to your family
Diwali is a celebration for one and all. So if you are making a sweet at home, ordering it and sending to or eating it with your family, do not limit it to that. Feed the poor, so they could celebrate the festival too.
Save paper and invest in time. Send personalized notes, or be present and talk to your friends and family over the video call. It is bound to be truly special.
Plant a tree
Take the opportunity and turn on a new leaf, literally. Go ahead and plant saplings and watch the tree grow in a year. This is a better way to start the year than seeing the greens grow.
Wishing all our readers and customers a very Happy Diwali