Happy Diwali!

By: Kathan Kapoor

Image Source: Kathan Kapoor

On November 4th, many people will be celebrating Diwali. Although Diwali is a Hindu festival, many other faiths including Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs take part in the festivities. 

Also known as the Festival of Lights, the celebration derives its name from the clay lamps Hindus put outside of their homes. There are many interpretations of the celebration, but the most popular describes King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps, the celebration of Lord Krishna defeating the demon Narakasura, and the celebration of the day Vishnu sent the demon Bali to rule the netherworld. 

While there are many interpretations of the special occasion, the festival is meant to celebrate good over evil. Jains celebrate Diwali to praise Tirthankar Mahavira’s contributions to humankind, Sikhs celebrate to commemorate the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him. 

Although Diwali this year is celebrated worldwide on November 4th, 2021, there are five days of the celebration.  On the first day, Hindus clean their homes and purchase gold and silver to bring good fortune to their families. The second day is the day of decoration. It is celebrated by placing diyas (clay lamps) outside the homes and covering the floor in coloured powder. The day is also commemorated as Naraka Chaturdashi in remembrance of Krishna’s destruction of Narakasura. The third day of Diwali is the most auspicious, as families take part in a Lakshmi puja where they ask for blessings. The fourth day of Diwali, also known as Bali Pratipadā, is celebrated in honour of the notional return of the daitya-king Bali to earth. The fifth and final day is known as Bhai Dooj. On this day, sibling bonds are celebrated as brothers will often visit their sisters who are married, who in return, will welcome them with a meal. They will also pray for each other’s success and well-being.

While Diwali is a fun celebration, one of the most important things to do is help others. Whether you are donating to a charity, helping those in need, or giving gifts to loved ones, it is important to give blessings to ensure they can also have a good year.  

To those who celebrate, have a happy Diwali!