We celebrate Diwali this upcoming weekend. It’s a five day Hindu festival, meaning “cluster of lights”. Diwali traditionally includes cleaning your homes and businesses on or before the first day allowing for a fresh start! People decorate homes and their doorways on the second day. They celebrate Dhanteras, to invite good luck, wealth and prosperity in their lives. Chhoti Diwali and Diwali evenings starts after performing pooja (prayers). Pople light diyas/candles and burst crackers. Food is very central (my most favorite part!) people make and offer delicious sweets or delectable savories. The last day of Diwali is Bahi Dooj that celebrates the brother-sister relationship!
There are many countries and cultures that celebrate festivals of lights – Tihar in Nepal, Hannukah, the Jewish celebration, Loi Krathong, a Buddhist holiday from Thailand, Kwanzaa an African American celebration of African culture and roots, Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of the baby Jesus.
These winter lights represent symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil; express people’s hopes for peace, understanding and possibilities. Happy Diwali!