Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Diwali Festival 2011

Deepavali (also: Depawali, Dipavali, Dewali, Diwali, Divali, Dipotsavi, Dipapratipad ) marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. It literally translated means 'Row of Lights' (from Sanskrit: dipa = lamp / awali = row, line). It celebrates the victory of goodness over evil, light over darkness, and ushers in the new year. For this event people are cleaning their houses and wear new clothes. Diwali is a 5 days festival as Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Badi (Main) Diwali, Padwa and Bhaiduj. There are many different names for the days of Diwali in different regions of India (South & North India, East & West India) and in the different languages spoken in that regions (i.e. Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali). During Deepavali people pray to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, light, prosperty and wisdom, but also to Lord Ganesha, the 'Remover of Obstacles' or the 'Lord of Beginnings'.

Deepavali celebrations take place in many countries in the world. On the first day of the Diwali festival people pray, eating a special breakfast made of many different foods. The Hindu Goddess Lakshmi's statue and images are carried through the streets in processions. There are various legends and stories about the Diwali festival. The story of Bali, Emergence of Laxmi, Krisna Narakasur Fight, Victory of Rama over Ravana and many more. Dipa Lights (also called Diwali Diyas, Kandils, Ghee Lamps, Parvati Ganesha Lamps) that are made of clay, fueled with Oil from Coconuts or Mustard or Ghee (clarified butter), the wick made of cotton wool, are placed outside of houses, on floors and doorways. During Diwali festival doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds. Deepavali Mela is being celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains & Buddhists. On the day of Deepavali people exchange gifts, using firecrackers, making fireworks & bonfires, having festive meals. The Indian Festival of Lights takes place after the monsoon season when the weather is pleasant. Diwali Melas (fairs) are held throughout India and the celebrations abroad.

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