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Diwali (pronounced Dee -Wah- Lee) National Festival of India

Diwali is the National Festival of India. It has quite a lot of religious significance for 3 religions in India. Hinduism , Sikhism and Jainism.

Diwali originated from the Term Deepawali (sanskrit word) meaning  row of lights.  Diwali involves people lighting small oil filled lamps and small candles in their houses and its also signifies the triumph of good over evil. Infact not only is it a national holiday in India but its a national holiday in other countries like Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar , Fiji  and Suriname. People mostly wear new dresses and clothes , eat sweets and basically have a nice get together will all their family members. Obviously the kids love firecrackers and its quite a noisy place to be : India : during Diwali. Some businesses even choose the day after diwali as the first day of business for the new financial year as its considered a lucky day. Goddess lakshmi , the Goddess of wealth blesses people during Diwali and its quite common or accepted that in some neighbourhoods people go out an GAMBLE on Diwali.According to a legend the Hindu god Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati were once playing dice on Diwali, and as Parvati won she promised that anyone who gambles on Diwali will get prosperity in the coming year. People also do other religious rituals to please goddess Lakshmi during Diwali.

Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman(soul). Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this inner light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality.

Religious Significance

  • The return of Sri Ram after 14 years of Vanvas (banishment). To welcome his return, candles were lit in rows of 20.
  • Enlightenment of Mahavira , The central character in the Jainism philosophy.
    The Return of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji (10th Sikh guru)  to Amritsar after freeing 52 Hindu kings imprisoned in Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir; the people lit candles and diyas to celebrate his return
  • Also its end of the harvest season in most parts of India and farmers thank the gods for a bountiful harvest and mostly its the farmers who sort of start the financial year from the day next to deepawali onwards.

Its a day of celebration for everyone. On behalf of Volunteerinindia.com I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy diwali and a prosperous year.