Diwali; the festival of light

India is a country of varied heritage in the realm of dance, music, and festivals. Over the years it has become a dwelling of love and pain, light and shadows. It contains diverse heritage features together, all under one roof. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in the autumn. The festival begins on Dhanteras, two days before Diwali and ends Bhai Dooj, two days after Diwali.

Crackers have always formed a part of the festival, but recent times have seen a decrease in favor of sustainability.
Image: ondasderuido on Flickr

During this festival  people usually clean, renovate, and decorate their houses and offices before it. On the days of Diwali,  people wear new clothes, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their house, participate in family puja (prayers) to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and light fireworks. They engage in family feasts, sharing mithai (sweets), and exchange gifts between family members and close friends.

Diwali is a time to spend with family and close friends, and it is one of the most loved festivities in the country.
Image: Aditya Sahay on Flickr

Depending on the region within India,  mythology, and beliefs, the spiritual connotation of the festival varies. Across the world, most of people celebrate Diwali in honor of the return of Lord Rama, wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman to Ayodhya from exile of 14 years after Rama defeated Ravana. This is done to honor and celebrate Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman returning from Sri Lanka and to enlighten their path. Villagers light Diyas to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

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