Diwali or Deepawali: The Indian Festival of Light

Happy Diwali!

Deepawali is the festival of light celebrated since times unknown
in every part of the land from a grass-thatched mud hut to a
palace and from a commercial or industrial establishment to a
shrine. Not merely Hindus or the followers of other indigenous
sects - Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists ., even Christians and
Mohammedans are enthusiastic about it, and it is not only the
door of a Christian's house or that of a Mohammedan but even that
of a chapel or a Dargah - a saint's holy burial, is often found
lit with a lamp dispelling the darkness of the darkest night, the
Amavasya in the month of Kartika - the eighth month of the Indian
calendar. Crackers, an essential feature of Deepawali
celebrations, are every youth's love, and which eye, old or
young, does not glow when a spray of multi-coloured lights
scatter over the high skies transforming into multi-forms from a
peacock to the tri-colour national flag.

More than a religious festival or the festival of a community or
race, Deepawali is perceived as the battle of light against
darkness - a tiny lamp's determination to illuminate the earth
and the sky setting them free from the all-enshrouding darkness.
Deepawali celebrates this victory of the tiny lamp, its humble
effort to fight out the gigantic darkness. People see in the
effort of the tiny lamp their own effort to wade across the ocean
of adversities, and this sense fills them with renewed confidence
and fresh vigour for the days to come.

Indeed, Deepawali is the festival of renewing confidence in
oneself and among all. It is a festival that inspires universal
goodness and prosperity for all beyond caste and creed. Whatever
its sectarian contexts, now for centuries it has attained the
magnitude of a national festival which breathes a strange sense
of belonging to all. Whether the lamp is lit in a temple or
chapel, in a hut or palace, before the image of Christ, Mahavira,
Buddha or Lakshmi and Ganesh, or before the sacred Bir - Holy
Scripture, in a Gurdwara or at home, it is essentially a desire
for light, an intrinsic determination to combat darkness,
inherent compulsion for freeing oneself from all that is narrow,
besides a lot of shopping and display of good taste, that now
define the festival of Deepawali.


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