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The Festival of Lights: Understanding Diwali and Its Significance

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most celebrated and cherished festivals in India and among the Indian diaspora around the world. This festival, often referred to as the “Festival of Lights,” holds a special place in the hearts of millions. To shed light on the significance and traditions associated with Diwali, we had the pleasure of interviewing Rani, who shared her personal experiences and insights about this vibrant and joyous occasion.

 

Rani’s Perspective on Diwali:

When asked about the importance of Diwali, Rani explained, “Very much so, this is very much the same as Christmas to us, a very happy occasion.” Diwali, much like Christmas in many Western cultures, is a time for families and communities to come together, exchange gifts, and celebrate the spirit of togetherness.

 

The Significance of Diwali:

Rani elaborated “Diwali is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology and symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil”.  Rani shared “to prepare for Diwali, families embark on a thorough cleansing of their homes, ensuring they are spotless”. This act signifies the removal of negative energies and the welcoming of positive forces into their lives.

 

The Illumination of Diyas and Lanterns:

One of the most enchanting aspects of Diwali is the lighting of diyas (oil lamps) and lanterns. Rani shared that “we light lanterns and diya (oil lamps) and these are lit during the festival of Diwali to symbolise prosperity in the new year.” The warm, flickering light of the diyas represents the dispelling of darkness and the awakening of inner light and knowledge.

 

Feasting and Sweets:

Diwali is not only a feast for the soul but also for the taste buds. Rani mentioned, “We make lots of food and fruit and sweets (Mithai) which are made to celebrate with friends and family; this is a very joyous occasion for all those that are celebrating.” The preparation of delectable dishes and mithai, or sweets, is an integral part of Diwali. These are shared with loved ones, reflecting the theme of togetherness and the joy of sharing.

 

Worship and Prayer:

Religious observance and rituals are an essential part of Diwali. Rani talked about how they “worship and pray (poojah) to Naklaspshmi Devi for happiness and prosperity for the year coming.” The prayers and pujas performed during Diwali are dedicated to seeking blessings from the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi Devi. This is done in the hope that she will bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

 

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is a vibrant and spiritually enriching celebration that brings families and communities together. It is a time for reflection, renewal, and gratitude for the triumph of good over evil. Rani’s insights provide a glimpse into the heartwarming traditions and the profound significance of Diwali, a festival that continues to spread joy and light into the lives of those who celebrate it.

 

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