Diwali - The festival of new beginnings

Triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.

Diwali memories for most of us are with the love of sweets, view of sparkling crackers, the scent of mustard oil diyas, card games and get-togethers. When the sun sets, the flames of diyas lit up faces and the smell of fresh flower decorations enhances the festive vibes. Meeting friends, exchanging gifts and a lot more.

Diwali is celebrated by millions of people across the globe as a five-day festival of lights. Also known as Deepavali, the festival coincides with harvest and new year celebrations for other parts of the world. The name comes from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, meaning “rows of lighted (clay) lamps” that people light outside their houses.

Like Christmas for Canada and the west, Diwali is the most celebrated festival for South Asians (primarily from India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal). With the awareness of the festival and people immigrating to several parts of the world, it is also celebrated now by non-Indian communities.

What is the festival Diwali about?

It’s about light, and more light.

Each religion marks historic and special events with various stories.

  • North India celebrates the defeat of Ravana by their Lord Ramachandra and was welcomed by lighting rows of clay lamps, the holy tradition that still continues.
  • For Hindus, they celebrate Diwali as the return of their Prince Ram, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman to Ayodhya after completing a 14-year exile.
  • Hindus also celebrate the day Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha.
  • Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas, symbolizing the release of their sixth guru Hargobind Singh from the prison.
  • For Jains, they celebrate the moment their founder, Lord Mahavira reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or eternal bliss).
  • South India celebrates Diwali as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon, Narakasura.
  • In West Bengal, they pray to Maa Goddess Kali, who is believed to be the destruction of evil and all the illusory elements of life.
  • In Western parts of India, the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
  • And what you cannot miss learning about is the Grandness of Ganga in Varanasi, India, illuminated with massive aarti, diyas and candles.
It’s astonishing to see how one festival, in different ways, means so much to millions of people.
Are you surprised too?

Did you know which game is the most popular during Diwali?

Card games!

Why is it considered auspicious? Well, it is believed to bring luck and money!

Five days of Diwali 2021, rituals and traditions (besides the fireworks):

Day 1: Dhanteras, November 2, 2021
Though the process of cleaning homes starts days in advance, on this first day of Diwali, people crystal clean their homes and move out to shop for gold or any kitchen utensils that symbolizes bringing in good fortune.

Day 2: Choti Diwali, November 3, 2021
Colourful lights, clay lamps, rangoli patterns (designed with flowers, lamps and powdered art) make their way to the beautiful homes adding a spark of festive vibe.

Day 3: Diwali, November 4, 2021
This is the main day when close family and friends unite to offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi. After the rituals, fireworks begin followed by a lavish meal. Not to forget the brand new outfits every year.

Day 4: Padwa, November 5, 2021
This is the first day of the new year. People exchange greetings and gifts with friends and close relatives.

Day 5: Bhai Duj, November 6, 2021
The last day is a special occasion for brothers and sisters, where they meet, follow a tilak ceremony and exchange sweets and gifts.

Diwali 2021 bucket list:

If you are on the lookout as to how to celebrate Diwali this year, here is a simple list for you. And yes, do engage with your local community in Canada. Share sweets, talks, and hearts!

  • Plan a visit to your friends and relatives or call them over
  • Keep thoughtful small gifts for those who visit you
  • Spend time cooking Diwali delicacies
  • Plan a cards party with friends and family
  • Get dressed to your best in traditional Indian wear
  • Engage in volunteering or community services where you can either distribute some gifts or host a meal for the needful
  • Crackers are fun, but oh, the pollution and global warming and several other reasons. Instead, gift yourself something special, plant trees, paint, read a book, make an eco-friendly rangoli, take a vacation or do something that you have wanted to do for a long time
  • Music, and more music. Get grooving to the desi beats with your Diwali gang.

Delicious, decadent Diwali sweets!

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