India 11.11.2020 Transindus
At this time of year, the skies above our homes light up with fireworks as Diwali is celebrated around the world. But what is Diwali and how is it celebrated among different religions and cultures around the world?
This five day multi-faith festival is celebrated at the start of the Indian astrological calendar, (around the end October/early November) all over India by Hindus, Sikhs, Jain’s and some Buddhists and marks a bountiful harvest, the start of an auspicious new year.
On the first day of Diwali, homes are spring cleaned and something new is purchased for it, to welcome good fortune. From the second day onwards, clay lamps and rangolis (floor decorations with with flower petals or coloured powder) are used to decorate and brighten the home. The third day is the main event when prayers and religious rights take palce followed by fireworks, feasting and merriment. The fourth is the most exciting for children as this is when gifts are exchanged between friends and families, while the fifth day celebrates Bhai Dooj, an eternal bond between brothers and sisters.
How each of India's religions celebrate Diwali
Whilst each religion is incredibly different with their own beautiful traditions and cultures, the festival of Diwali is a constant and shared celebration. Each religion celebrates Diwali for slightly different reasons however, and the way they mark the occasion also varies.
Hindu’s celebrate it to rejoice the return of Lord Rama from a 14 year exile and defeating the evil Lord Ravana marking the awakening of good over evil and pay homage to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
The Jains celebrate Diwali to mark the spiritual awakening of their Lord Mahavira, marking the enlightenment of mankind from darkness.
The Sikh’s celebrate Diwali to commemorate the return of their young spiritual leader Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru to the holy city of Amritsar on release from wrongful imprisonments symbolising understanding & common goals.
Some Buddhists also celebrate the festival to honour their Emperor Ashoka’s decision to convert to Buddhism and follow a path of peace and enlightenment.
Although these four religions each have different reasons for celebrating Diwali but they all have the concept of spirituality, new beginnings, peace, harmony and unity at their heart.