The biggest and the grandest Festival of Lights is here. A time of the year to rejoice and get together with family. I do miss mine being in Singapore. Wishing you all a prosperous diwali.
A small blog about diwali.
A colorful festival that is celebrated by all Hindus worldwide is Deepavali, which is also known as the festival of lights. This festival usually falls around late October and November. One important practice that the Hindus follow during the festival is to light oil lamps in their homes on Deepavali morning. By lighting the oil lamps, the Hindus are thanking the gods for the happiness, knowledge, peace and wealth that they have received. The Hindus consider Deepavali as one of the most important festivals to celebrate.
The Legend - There is even an interesting legend behind this festival. The story goes that Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Khrishna set out to destroy the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, the triumph of good over evil!
Preparations - Preparation for Deepavali starts usually at least two to three weeks before the festival. It is known that the Hindus will be busy cleaning their houses to prepare for the festival. Some would even renovate their houses to prepare it for Deepavali. Usually the family will shop for new clothes and for accessories to decorate their homes. Prior to the festival, Indian shops will be selling festive items like Deepavali greeting cards, carpets, Punjabi suits and flowers. The Hindus will frequent these shops when they are shopping for Deepavali.
Celebrations - The Hindus usually awake early in the morning of deepavali around 3am and the first ritual will be having an oil bath, which is an important feature of Deepavali. Hindus will be dressed in their new clothes on Deepavali. Most of the ladies would be clad in silk saris or Punjabi suits of various bright shades. Hindus particularly dislike dressing in black on that day, as they consider black an inauspicious color for the festival. Hindus would also pay their respects to the elderly and most families would go to the temple after having breakfast. This is also an important practice for them. The reason why they would be going to the temples is to pray to get happiness and prosperity on Deepavali. The houses would be decorated with oil lamps and children will play with firecrackers to celebrate the festival. On the first day, they would not go visiting but would stay at home to welcome the guests who visit them.
Food - Visiting Hindus during Deepavali will be an interesting activity, as you will get to taste a wide variety of delicious food. In every home that you visit you are bound to be served with a tempting spread of sweets. Some of the popular sweets are halwa, burfi and laddu. Hindus love eating spicy food and for non-vegetarians they indulge in favorites like chicken tandoori, prawn sambal and fish head curry. In homes of Hindus who are vegetarians popular dishes like thosais, idlis and naans are prepared.