“May this Diwali, come with a beautiful beginning, fresh hope, bright days and new dreams. Wishing you a Happy Diwali.”
Fireworks, food, and family are the things that bring Diwali to life. Diwali is an incredible festival for many around the world. Diwali brings about a new beginning and new hope. To me, this holiday means an opportunity to explore my culture and experience the beautiful atmosphere it brings.
Growing up in America, I didn’t have the same Diwali experience as some of my friends did. I remember going through middle school, and always being asked by my peers about what Diwali was. I often ended up being unable to explain the festival to them, because I didn’t know much about it myself. I never took an interest in my culture back then. That began to change when I went to high school. In my freshman year of high school, I began to learn more about my culture and heritage. This was an incredibly eye-opening moment for me; learning about the hidden gems which my culture held. Although, I must be honest in saying that I still don’t know everything about my culture, and I continue to learn more about it every day.
Diwali is known as the festival of lights, but have you ever known what the lights represent? The lights represent the victory of light over darkness, or better known as the victory of good over evil. During Diwali houses and temples are brightly lit with diyas (small oil lamps) all night and day to express the significance of the light. Diyas represent the positive energies of knowledge and goodness that exist around us. They are lit to spread this knowledge and goodness.
Diwali is not composed of a single day, but rather, it is an entire auspicious period. The preceding day is known as Choti Diwali, or small Diwali, as it represents the “build-up” to the actual festival. On Choti Diwali, a prayer of unlit diyas is done. This represents the potential of all energies to spread goodness around the world. After the prayer, the diyas are lit and placed into every nook and cranny of the house. These diyas are continuously lit all night.
This ritual is also not only about spreading goodness on the outside but also representative of the idea of spreading goodness within yourself. Diwali gives everyone a chance to be “reborn” and remove negative thoughts and emotions. This forgiveness allows for all wrongdoings to be mended for the next year. Each year, we all pray for the knowledge to be better people and make the right decisions in our lives.
On Diwali (the main day), diyas are lit outside and burn all night to spread purity in the environment and surroundings.
The festival of Diwali traces its origins back to Hindu mythology. The Ramayana is an epic in which Ram, an incarnation of Vishnu (one of the three in the trinity in Hindu mythology, also known as the Preserver) is sent to defeat the arrogant and egoistic Ravana in Lanka, to save his wife Sita. Ravana was originally one of the most knowledgeable sages of the time and was respected by thousands. However, his arrogance and ego consumed him and he no longer retained his divinity. He captured Sita and took her to his abode in Lanka. Ram was furious and along with his brother, Lakshman, they traveled to Lanka to defeat Ravana. In the end, Ravana was defeated by Ram.
Ram then returned with Sita and Lakshman, and this return is now known as Diwali. The people of Ayodhya (Ram’s birthplace) lit thousands of diyas to welcome him home. Not only does this represent the victory of good over evil, but also the victory of light over the darkness.
We celebrate Diwali not just as Hindus, but along with Jain, Sikh, Buddhists, Christians, and many other religions. We can all celebrate the victory of all the positive energies over negative energies. We celebrate with family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. The festival not only teaches us many important lessons but also increases the understanding of our roots and the deeper meanings behind them. You do not necessarily to be Hindu or Indian to celebrate Diwali. All you need to do is open your heart, find the light within you, and share that light with others.
Thank You To All My Friends Who Helped Me Make This Post Possible!