The Festival of Lights

Last week in India was Diwali! It is India’s biggest, brightest, and in my opinion, the happiest national holiday. We’ve come together and celebrate the festival of lights!

An age old tradition followed according to the Indian Mythology is The Festival of Light, Diwali attributed to the triumph of Light over Darkness. The festival has mythological origins, celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists alike for various spiritual significance.Arch2O-Festival of Lights-03

Hinduism:

The festival marks the return of the Hindu God, the devout Lord Ram considered as the greatest of the Ikshvaku Clan’s heirs from a 14 year exile (imposed by his father) after ridding the world of evil that dominated that era. Marking his return, the city of Ayodhya, the capital city of the Ram Rajya (Kingdom of Ram) was decorated throughout with Diyas (Clay based oil lamps).

Diwali is also believed to be the day when the goddess of Wealth and Prosperity Lakshmi was married to Lord Vishnu. Apart from this this festival is also significant foe various other revered gods and goddess’.

Photo Courtesy: Ravi Kaushik

Photo Courtesy: Ravi Kaushik

Sikhism:

Marks the day of Bandhi Chor Divas, the day when the eminent Sikh Guru, Guru Har Gobind escaped captivity along with some Hindus from the prison of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and arrived at the Golden Temple at Amritsar.

Jainism:

Significant as the day marks the attainment of Nirvana of Mahavira.

Buddhism:

This is remembered as the day when King Ashoka, converted to Buddhism shedding all worldly concerns and devoting his life to preach the Buddhist teachings worldwide.In the contemporary setting, celebrating Diwali is a state of excitement for any household for the fact that they’d get to be with family and friends form over. The long chats, catching ups, communal preparations etc. make an average day blissfully wonderful.

Photo Courtesy: Ravi Kaushik

Photo Courtesy: Ravi Kaushik

Another integral part of the festivities is fireworks! Without the sounds of bursting firecrackers or the skies painted with drops of gold, silver, blue, green and red Diwali is never complete. Its common belief that the sounds portray the liveliness to the heavens and the gods shower their blessings to the humanity.

There have been widespread protests by activist factions about the negative side effects of polluting the environment, so the levels of display have come down a notch. But it’s also believed that the fumes and smokes generated tend to kill the mosquitoes and insects that are plentiful in lieu of the autumn season.

Though there is a myriad of religious backdrops to this festival, the exuberance leading to the preparation and celebration of this extravaganza is one of a kind and has its own panache. Be it an 80 year old grandmother or a 20 year old grandson every single person become a 10 year old child at the prospect of hogging sweets or engaging in fireworks. This cultural extravaganza is a stage for re-forging old relationships and forming new ones with a note of happiness.Arch2O-Festival of Lights-02

Happy Diwali 2015! 

Remember, this world is a beautiful place.

By: Achyuthan Ramaswamy

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