Prema Kapoor •
Each year, those of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jain creeds celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. This year, the auspicious holiday falls on Sunday, October 27. More specifically, Diwali occurs on the darkest day of the lunar month during October, which is also the day of the new Moon.
Diwali is the biggest and most celebrated holiday for Hindus around the world and gets its name from the diyas (clay lamps) Hindus light and place inside and outside of their homes.
Since there are many different groups of people to celebrate this holiday, there are also many different interpretations for the cause of celebration, but the most popular ones include Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya, his home, after he defeated the demon Ravana and saved Mother Sita, the celebration of Lord Krishna defeating the demon Narakasura, or the celebration of the day Lord Vishnu sent the demon Bali to rule the netherworld. Regardless of how followers choose to interpret the holiday, the one thing they all have in common is that Diwali marks the victory of good over evil.
One of the things about Diwali that makes it such a highly regarded holiday is because it spans over five days. The first day is Dhanteras, which is known as the day of fortune. On this day, Mother Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, is worshipped for hopes of overall well-being and prosperity in the new year. The second day is Naraka Chaturdasi, the day of knowledge. It is on this day that people will reflect on the story of Lord Krishna killing the demon Narakasura and rescuing the 16 000 princesses that were held captive by the demon. The third day is Diwali, the day of light. Fireworks are set off in celebration of this day, as it is known as the height of the festival. For some, this marks the last day of the celebration. The fourth day is Annakut (New Year), where food will be offered to Lord Krisha in Hindu temples to remember when Lord Krishna saved villagers from being killed in a flood. The fifth and final day of the festival is Bhai Duh, the day of love between siblings. During this day, to close off the festival, brothers will present their sisters with gifts and will often visit them if they are married to ensure the general wellbeing. This act signifies the respect and love siblings have for one another.
Diwali is an incredibly joyous and fun celebration for those who celebrate, and even for those who are only just learning about the festival. To those who are celebrating, on behalf of the Mustang Messenger, Happy Diwali!