Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most celebrated and eagerly awaited festivals in India and among the Indian diaspora. It holds a special place in the hearts of millions, regardless of their religious affiliations, as it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. The festival typically spans five days, with each day holding its own unique significance.
Diwali’s origins are deeply rooted in Indian mythology. One of the most well-known stories associated with Diwali is the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his loyal brother Lakshmana to the city of Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana. Their return marked a triumph over evil and the restoration of dharma (righteousness).
In some regions, Diwali is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity. It is believed that she visits homes during Diwali, and people light lamps and candles to welcome her and seek her blessings for a prosperous year ahead.
Diwali is often referred to as the “Festival of Lights.” The lighting of oil lamps, candles, and colourful electric bulbs is a central part of the celebration. These lights symbolise the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness and guides us on our path.
During Diwali, homes are cleaned and decorated, and colourful rangoli (artistic designs made with coloured powders, rice, or flower petals) adorn entrances. Families come together to exchange gifts, share festive meals, and burst firecrackers, adding to the joyful atmosphere.
While Diwali has its roots in Hinduism, it is celebrated by people of various religious backgrounds. Jains commemorate Lord Mahavira’s attainment of nirvana, and Sikhs observe it as Bandi Chhor Divas, marking the release of Guru Hargobind Ji from imprisonment.
Beyond the festivities, Diwali serves as a time for self-reflection and spiritual renewal. It encourages individuals to let go of their inner darkness, ignorance, and negativity and embrace the light of knowledge, love, and compassion.
Diwali is celebrated for a multitude of reasons, including the victory of good over evil, the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, and the inner journey toward enlightenment. It is a testament to the rich tapestry of Indian culture and the universal values it upholds. The Festival of Lights not only brings people together in celebration but also inspires them to cultivate the light within and spread it to the world.