One of India’s major holidays, the ‘Festival of Lights’ known as Diwali (or Deepavali) is being celebrated on October 28, 2008.
The festival is an important symbolic ‘renewal of life’ that is celebrated by Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain communities around the world.
In India, Diwali is a national holiday whose “aesthetic aspect…is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith”.
What are you doing to celebrate Diwali in your community? Please share your comments, photos, and videos by posting them to this story.
Diwali is perhaps the most well-known of the Indian festivals. It is a five day celebration which occurs on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month of Kartika (during October/November in the Gregorian calendar). The word Diwali means “rows of lighted lamps” and the celebration is often referred to as the Festival of Lights because of the common practice of lighting small oil lamps (called diyas) and placing them around the home, in courtyards and in gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls.
Everywhere that it is celebrated, Diwali signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival. It also heralds the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season.
Diwali is also a Sikh festival. It particular it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Hargobind, in 1619. Sikhs had celebrated Diwali for many years before that and the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest place in the Sikh world, was laid on Diwali in 1577. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of Moksha (Nirvana, or eternal bliss) by the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira.
NowPublic member Rumana Husain has shared her experience of Diwali in Karachi:
The place resounded with the sound of devotional songs, temple bells and loud firecrackers. All around, there was illumination. I attended the Diwali celebrations at the Swaminarayan temple a short while ago. It is located in the heart of Karachi’s old city area, on M. A. Jinnah Road, across the imposing colonial Municipal Corporation building.
Read the rest of her article here: Diwali in Karachi.