For Hindus, the beginning of winter is marked by Diwali, the festival of lights, which inspires the lighting of millions of oil lamps inside homes and firecrackers outside. These celebrate the home comings of the hero Rama and his wife Sila. Prayers are given to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and boxes of sweets are exchanged between friends and family members. This five day festival is the equivalent of Christmas.
Spring brings Holi, a riotous festival where colored water and paint are scattered, leaving most people who venture outside covered in pink, blue and silver. Northern India in particular revels in this festival.
Diwali 2012 / Deepavali 2012
Diwali (also spelled Devali in certain regions) or Deepavali, popularly known as the “festival of lights,” is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-December for different reasons. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BCE.
Diwali / Deepavali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.
The name “Diwali” or “Divali” is a contraction of “Deepavali” (Sanskrit: दीपावली Dīpāvalī), , which translates into “row of lamps”. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (dīpa in Sanskrit: दीप) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night and one’s house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst in order to drive away evil spirits. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.
Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana, from his 14-year-long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas and by bursting firecrackers.
The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year. The second day of the festival, Naraka Chaturdasi, marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the third day of Diwali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the Bali, and banished him to Patala. It is on the fourth day of Diwali, Kartika Shudda Padyami, that Bali went to patala and took the reins of his new kingdom in there. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.
it begins in late Ashvin (between September and October) and ends in early Kartika (between October and November). The days in Ashvin are in the Krishna Paksha (“dark fortnight”) of that month, while the days in Kartik are in its Shukla Paksha (“bright fortnight”). The first day is Dhan Teras. The last day is Yama Dvitiya, which signifies the second day of the light half of Kartika. Each day of Diwali marks one celebration of the six principal stories associated with the festival.
Diwali greetings in some languages
- Deepavali Nalvaatukal (தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்) :Greeting in Tamil
- Subha Dipawali ki mangalmaya subha kaamanaa (शुभ दिपावली की मंगलमय शुभ-कामना): Greeting in Nepali
- Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein (दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं): Greeting in Hindi
- Diwali Mubarak (દીવાળી મુબારક): Greeting in Gujarati
- Tuhanu diwali diyan boht boht vadhaiyan (ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਦਿਵਾਲੀ ਦੀਆਂ ਬਹੁਤ ਬਹੁਤ ਵਧਾਈਆਂ ਹੋਣ ): Greeting in Punjabi
- Deepavali Aashamsagal ( ദീപാവലി ആശംസകള് ): Greeting in Malayalam.
- Deepavali Habbada Shubhashayagalu (ದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಷಯಗಳು): Greeting in Kannada
- Deepavali Shubhakankshalu (దీపావళి శుభాకా౦క్షలు) :Greeting in Telugu
- Shubh Diwali/ Diwalichya hardik Shubhechha (शुभ दिवाली /दिवाळीच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा ): Greeting in Marathi
- Subho Diwalir Preeti O Subeccha (শুভ দীপাবলীর প্রীতি ও শুভেচ্ছা) :Greeting in Bengali
- “Happy Diwali!” :Greeting in English language
- Diwali mubarak ho:Greeting in Hindi (Bundelkhand)
- Deepavalira Anek Shubhechha (ଦୀପାବଳିର ଅନେକ ଶୁଭେଛା) :Greeting in Oriya
- Diwali mubarak ho aap sabko:Greeting in Hindi (Bhind)
Happy Diwali / Deepavali 2012!
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