Monday, October 12, 2009

Hindus want Diwali be declared as holiday in USA schools

Hindus have urged the school districts all over USA to add Diwali, the most important Hindu holy day, to the public schools’ holiday calendar.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children.
According to Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hindus worship goddess of good fortune and beauty Lakshmi, god of wisdom and auspiciousness Ganesh, and mountain Goverdhan on this day. Also on this day, coronation of Lord Ram was held, Lord Hanuman was born, Lord Vishnu returned kingdom to monkey king Bali of Kiskindha, Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi married, Lord Krishan killed demon Narakasur, and ancient king Vikramaditya was crowned. On this day of forgiveness, festivities, and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. It is also considered a harvest festival. This year it falls on October 17.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about 2.3 million estimated Hindus in USA. - Sampurn Media. more details

Diwali in India spells danger for Nepal

Every autumn, as India celebrates Diwali, the festival of lights, it spells danger for neighbouring Nepal where smuggled fireworks from Indian cities pose a severe fire hazard.The Nepal Police headquarters said searches have been intensified at Thankot, the major entry point to Kathmandu valley, and key check posts on the India-Nepal border in the Terai plains in the south to confiscate crackers and other powerful fireworks that are smuggled every year around this time.
Fireworks are banned in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu valley, where several world heritage sites, temples and monasteries are located.
The scarcity of water, the narrow bylanes and the mushrooming of buildings without any open space have contributed to make Kathmandu and its neighbouring Lalitpur and Bhaktapur cities potential death traps where a single stray flame can trigger a conflagration.
The ban was strengthened during the 10-year Maoist insurgency for fear that the explosives could be used by the Communist guerrillas.
Despite the ban, in the recent years, the authorities are alarmed by the growing use of fireworks during Diwali in Nepal.
On Friday, police said they had confiscated 350 kg of firecrackers from three buses that had reached Thankot from Sarlahi and Dhanusha districts in the Terai.
On the same day, two cartons of fireworks were also seized from a fourth bus coming from Birgunj.
Since last week, police have seized over 1,300 kg of such explosives

Selling firecrackers is a punishable offence and last year, a trader caught by police was charged with violating the Explosives Act.
Earlier this week, a group of Indian pilgrims who had come to worship at the Pashupatinath temple were in temporary trouble as police found three sacks of fireworks hidden under vegetables and stashed on the roof of their bus.
The phenomenon has also triggered public discussions on the potential hazard.
On Friday, Kantipur FM, Nepal’s most popular radio station, urged listeners during a chat show not to flout the law and put theirs as well as others’ lives in jeopardy.
Nepal celebrates its own form of Diwali, the indigenous Tihar festival, differently.
While lamps are lit at temples, devotees worship the cow and the dog and traditionally, there are no fireworks.

Malaysia’s Little India comes alive for Deepavali celebrations

George Town (Malaysia), Oct.9 (ANI): Malaysia’s “Little India” area in George Town has come alive with shoppers flocking to buy clothes, prayer paraphernalia, provisions, traditional Indian delicacies and decorative pieces in preparation for Deepavali, the festival of lights.
The shops are decked with festive decorations and, in the background, popular Tamil songs from the latest movies are blasting away on speakers placed outside the shops to the sweet smell of incense wafting in the air.
Some said they were more keen on getting the latest “punjabi suits and salwar kameez” for themselves.
They made a beeline for V.K.N. Sivasamy and Brothers for the latest punjabi suits, reports The Star.
V.K.N. Sivasamy’s co-owner P. Ramalingam said shoppers began flocking to his shop to get their Deepavali attire a month ago.
Umayal Textiles owner G.P. Ashok Kumar said shoppers were drawn by the sale at his shop, which began on September 15.
Ashok Kumar added that designer cotton sarees and designer silk sarees. which are exclusive items at his shop, were a hit with customers. (ANI)

Canadian parliament celebrates Diwali

Toronto, Oct 10 (IANS) The Canadian parliament celebrated Diwali this week with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other top leaders lighting the traditional lamps.Immigration minister Jason Kenney, finance minster Jim Flaherty, public safety minister Peter Van Loan, parliamentary secretary Deepak Obhrai, opposition leader Jack Layton and parliamentarians were among the 450 dignitaries to attend the festivities Thursday night.
High commissioner Shashisekar Gavai of India and envoys from Pakistan and Malaysia were also among those who attended the evening gala.
After lighting the traditional lamp, Prime Minister Harper said the “growing Indo-Canadian community is at the forefront of Canada’s quest to build an even better country for generations to come”.
“From coast to coast our country has been and continues to be immeasurably enriched by your contributions.”
After the prime minister, Obhrai and other guests lit the Diwali lamp and participated in a Hindu traditional ceremony conducted by priests from temples in Toronto and Ottawa. Diwali will be celebrated Oct 17 this year.
Obhrai, who began celebrating Diwali at the Canadian parliament in 1998, thanked the prime minister and other dignitaries.
“Since 1998, Diwali on Parliament Hill (the seat of the House of Commons) has grown in significance and stature, and today can truly be considered as Canada’s National Diwali Festival,” said Obhrai, who is parliamentary secretary to the foreign minister.
The guests were shown how Diwali is celebrated differently in various parts of India.
After the ceremonies, a traditional Diwali dinner was laid out and the guests were treated to Indian delicacies.
With the festival of lights just days away, the almost a million-strong Indian community in Canada has begun small-scale celebrations across the country.
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Siliguri factories burn midnight oil to make Diwali

Siliguri, Oct 10 (ANI): As the festival of lights ‘Diwali’ is around the corner, the candle making factories are speeding up work to meet the demand in Siliguri.
The workers have to do overtime to churn out extra candles and earn more money.
North Bengal accounts for over 170 odd candle factories, which provide direct employment to over 3,000 workers and a living to their 20,000 dependents.
“There is a great demand for candles. For the past three months, there is a huge sale. We are not able to meet the demand,” said Radheshaym Agarwal, a candle supplier.
Huge demand for candles translates into more money. However, even though there is a huge demand for candles, this is much less than last year.
“The sale of candles is alright for Diwali. However, since Chinese electric bulbs and decorative candles, which are being imported in India, there is far less demand for small and plain candles during this Diwali as compared with last year,” said Biswanath Agarwal, another candle supplier.
The colourful Chinese lights are attractive and available in the shape of traditional earthen lamps and candles. Moreover, they are convenient to use, said Sanjay Saha, a trader of Chinese lights.
“Traditional earthen lamps have to be refilled with oil and candles have to be re-lighted when they put out. But Chinese electric lights don’t have any such problems. Once you switch it on, it continues lighting. Therefore it’s in a great demand,” Saha said.
Even though there have been reports of a very short life of Chinese lights, people in India are preferring them as they are much cheaper than available Indian lights. (ANI)

Obama to join Diwali celebrations at White House

US President Barack Obama will personally join members of the Asian American community to celebrate Diwali, ‘the festival of lights’, at the White House next week.
“At the East Room ceremony, the president will observe Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a holiday celebrated across faiths on Oct 14,” the White House announced Friday.
While it was former president George W. Bush, who started the tradition of celebrating Diwali at the White House, he never personally participated in the celebrations, leaving his top administration officials to grace the occasion.
Also Diwali was not celebrated in the main White House, but in a building attached to the it.
The East Room is usually used for ceremonial occasions. It was here that Bush signed the enabling law for the India-US civil nuclear deal.
The White House also announced that Obama will also sign an Executive Order Oct 14 restoring the White House Advisory Commission and the Interagency Working Group to address the issues concerning the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
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North meets south at Malay-Indians Diwali celebration

Oct. 12 (ANI): As Malay-Indians get ready to celebrate Deepavali in their traditional north and south Indian ways, a couple in George Town has merged both traditions to make the most of the festival of lights.
Administrative assistant Ramesh Sharma, 48, of North Indian origin, is married to Sumathi Sharma, 48, a Tamil. For the past 24 years they have been entertaining friends and relatives from both sides with a wide array of South and North Indian delicacies.
“My wife adapted well into my culture, and over the years, she has mastered the art of cooking North Indian dishes handed down by my mother as well as the South Indian ones.”On Deepavali day, Sumathi performs early morning prayers while I do them in the evening as practised by other North Indians,” the Star Online quoted him, as saying.
For Ramesh’s family, Deepavali is an auspicious occasion and no meat is served on that day.
“We prepare a variety of vegetarian dishes from both cultures with a blend of Chinese dishes such as ghee rice, vegetarian mutton kurma, Chinese stir-fried vegetables, brinjal sambal, ulam, poori, thosai, putumayam and aloo gobi, which is a must-have dish for North Indians,” said Ramesh.
Each year, at least a week before Deepavali, Sumathi and her family prepare the traditional sweets and snacks at home.
“I usually prepare the sweets and snacks about a week before Deepavali to ensure the freshness and crispiness of the snacks,” she said. (ANI) RELATED SITES

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama to celebrate Diwali at White House on October 14

US President, Barack Obama, would celebrate Diwali "the festival of lights" along with other members of the community at the White House next week. "At the East Room ceremony, the President will observe Diwali, or the "Festival of Lights," a holiday celebrated across faiths," the White House announced last evening. It came along with the announcement that Obama on October 14 will also sign an Executive Order restoring the White House Advisory Commission and the Interagency Working Group to address the issues concerning the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Though Diwali celebrations in the White House were started by George W Bush, but the former US President never personally participated in the celebrations, leaving his top administration officials to grace the occasion. Diwali was also not celebrated in the main White House, but in the building attached to it. This is for the first time that the festival would be celebrated in the East Room of the White House, with Obama himself present there to celebrate the festival of lights. details

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Diwali Festival Celebrate

The best-known of the Hindu festivals, Diwali is celebrated throughout India at the New Moon on the fifteenth day of the auspicious month Kartika (october/november), as well as in Indian communities throughout the world. Diwali, from the sanskrit: deepãvali meaning "a garland of lamps", is an accurate description for this remarkable Indian festival of lights. The celebration of Diwali, a moveable feast, occurs this year on October 17, 2009 in the Western, Gregorian Calendar. more details
A harvest festival and a celebration of the Lunar New Year, Diwali has strong astrological energies, like similar festivals the world over. Basically, this is a seasonal, astrological festival marking the transition from the old lunar year to the new in Hindu India, though naturally it has lost some of this emphasis with the rise of modern urban civilisation.
The celebration of Diwali, a moveable feast, occurs this year on October 17, 2009. There are many regional calendars in use in India, and though the core days for the festival are common, its timing in terms of the Gregorian Calendar can be confusing. The Indian Calendars are constructed using a combination of lunar and solar influences, taking into consideration the Full Moons in the various asterisms, or nakshatras. The calendars vary somewhat from state to state, so it can be timed (especially in the North) at the end of the month Ashwin and cross over to the beginning of Kartika. In the South and in Maharashtra, it is celebrated in the middle of Kartika, as the South marks the lunation as the middle of the month, and the North marks it as the end of the month. more details
The celebration takes different forms in different parts of India, but we will start with the flavour of the North.
In North India, the lamps are lit to remind the community of Rama's return to his kingdom of Ayodhya after fourteen years in exile. During this time Rama, one of the main figures of devotion in the Hindu faith, conquered the tyrant Ravana, who had abducted his wife Sita and held her in his island fortress of Lanka. Rama's heroic deeds are set out in the epic poem Ramayana and so, at least in this regard, Diwali celebrates the victory of virtue over vice. In the story, Rama, the rightful heir to the throne of Ayodhya, accepts exile in the forest due to his father's vow to his scheming stepmother. He is accompanied in his exile by his lovely wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. The Ramayana is the story of his conquest of evil with the aid of Hanuman, the monkey king, and the undying love of Sita. The symbolism of the story of Rama goes beyond the scope of this article, but it is one of the most powerful and enduring love stories of all time, and is cherished by the Indian people. more details
Different Meanings, but the Same FestivitiesAs with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. While in North India Diwali celebrates Rama's return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king, in Gujarat, the festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali.
For Jains, the day commemorates the passing into Nirvana of Mahavira, the most recent of the Jain Tirthankaras, or saints. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahavira's passing.
Sikhs celebrate Diwali to express joy at the return of the sixth Guru to Amritsar in 1620; Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned him along with 52 Hindu kings. The Guru was granted freedom, but refused to leave until the kings were also released.
The worship of Lakshmi and Ganesha is also celebrated throughout the country at this time. It signifies the renewal of life, so it is the done thing to wear new clothes on the day of the festival. It seems to have begun as a harvest festival, yet, as the beginning of the lunar New Year, it also heralds the approach of winter and the start of a new sowing season.
Five Day FestivalBy the Western Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls in October or November; in 2009, it occurs on October 17, but Diwali is actually a five day festival, beginning on the 15th day of the Hindu calendar month of Kartika. Gifts are exchanged and festive meals are prepared during Diwali and the celebration means as much to Hindus as Christmas does to Christians.
Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu and Gujarati New Year and is celebrated with the lighting of lamps and candles — and lots of fireworks. It is the traditional time to replenish wardrobes with new clothes and exchange gifts (often clothes) and sweets with friends and neighbours.
First Day – DhanterasBecause there are many regions in India, there are many manifestations of the Diwali celebration. The festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship the goddess of prosperity, Shri Lakshmi. Lustrous Lakshmi is the consort of Vishnu and her statue is found in every home. On this day, the homes of the faithful are thoroughly cleaned and windows are opened to welcome her blessing for the new year.
In rural villages cattle are adorned and worshipped by farmers and, in the South of India, cows are offered special veneration as the incarnation of the goddess. Candles and lamps are lit as a greeting to Lakshmi. more details
In Indian culture, wealth is not viewed as a corruptive power. Instead, a wealthy person is believed to have been rewarded for the good deeds of a past life. On this day, people exchange gifts and purchase new items for the house, as this is considered auspicious, ensuring happiness and prosperity for the whole of the coming year. Businessmen (marwaldi) pray for prosperity on this day to Lakshmi to give them the best results for the year ahead.
Second Day – Kali ChaudasOn the second day Kali, or Shakti, the goddess of power, is worshipped. Kali is power, or strength used for the protection of others, and Maha-Kali (supreme power) is the power of the divine force in the dance of destruction. This day celebrates the destruction of the demon (asura) Raktabija.
Another myth recalls the defeat of Narakãsura, the demon-king of Prãgjyotishapura (present day Assam). His yogic powers had fattened his ego, so he had become a menace to the people. He saw women as no more than a means fulfilling his desires and had 16,100 in his harem. The Gods implored Sri Krishna to rescue them from this fiend. Sri Krishna came from Dvaraka and destroyed Narãksura's huge army, finally beheading Narakãsura himself. The population was freed from the oppressive tyranny and everyone heaved a sigh of relief. All the women kept by the demon king were freed, and to preserve their social virtue, Sri Krishna made them all, at least nominally, his wives!
Diwali celebrates the end of the harvest, known as the Kharif when the fresh crop of rice is in, but also marks the beginning of the new season. Delicacies are prepared from pounded partly-cooked rice (called Poha or Pauva) from the recent harvest. This custom is held in rural and in urban areas, especially in Western India. This day (Kali Chaudas) also focuses on abolishing laziness and evil. North Indians call it Narak Chaudas and pray for the souls of departed loved ones.
Third Day – DiwaliOn the third and most important day — the last day of the year in the lunar calendar — lamps are lit, shining brightly in every home. The lamp shining at the dark of the New Moon symbolizes knowledge and encourages reflection upon the purpose of each day in the festival. The goal is to remember this purpose throughout the coming year. Lakshmi Puja (ceremonial worship) is performed on this day, awakening an appreciation of prosperity and a sense of responsibility towards it. Lakshmi, always depicted as a very beautiful woman, stands on a lotus. She has lotuses in various stages of bloom in her two hands and wears a lotus garland.
Cascades of gold coins are usually shown flowing from her hands, suggesting that those who worship her gain wealth. She always wears gold-embroidered red clothes, as red symbolizes activity and the golden lining indicates prosperity. Lakshmi is the active energy of Vishnu (the maintaining power of the universe), and also appears as Lakshmi-Narayan – Lakshmi accompanying Vishnu.
Lakshmi is the Goddess of Wealth and Ganesha is the Lord of Happiness. Lakshmi and Ganesha Puja is performed for prosperity, material abundance, and spiritual prosperity. The faithful believe that the worship of Lakshmi should not be neglected, lest poverty and suffering fall upon those who fail to remember her.
This Puja is performed in the evening, as the Taurus ascendant and the Leo ascendant are considered the best for preserving material benefits for the year. At this time, old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. The books are worshipped in a special ceremony and participants are encouraged to remove anger, hate, and jealousy from their lives.
Fourth Day — VishkarmaThe fourth day of Diwali falls on the first day of the lunar New Year and is called Vishkarma Day. Also known as Padwa or VarshaPratipada it marks the coronation of the legendary King Vikramaditya. Families celebrate the new year by dressing in new clothes, wearing jewellery and visiting family members and business colleagues bearing sweets, dried fruits and other gifts. This day is often used by manufacturers to pray for their equipment so that it works well and makes profit during the year ahead.
In ancient times, the people of Gokul would celebrate a festival in honour of Lord Indra, worshipping him at the end of each monsoon season. However, in one particular year, the young Krishna halted the custom of offering prayers to Indra — who had in a fit of anger poured down a deluge to destroy Gokul. Krishna saved Gokul from the deluge by lifting up a mountain called Govardhan and holding it over the people as an umbrella. So, on this day, Govardhan Puja is performed to commemorate this feat by Shri Krishna.
This day is also observed as Annakoot and prayers are offered in the temples. In Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are bathed in milk, then dressed in shining attire, featuring ornaments of diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones.
Fifth Day – BalipratipadaOn the final day (Balipratipada) of the festival, Bali, a titanic figure in Indian Mythology, is recalled. Bali was the powerful demon-king of Paataala (the netherworld), who had boldly extended his kingdom over the earth as well. On this day Shri Vishnu, taking the form of Vaamana, a dwarfish Brahmin, approached Bali requesting a boon comprising the amount of space equal to three of his steps. Bali, famed for his generosity, granted the boon. However, the "dwarf" then grew into a gigantic form and with one step covered the entire earth; with the second he covered the sky — and then asked Bali where he should place his third step. Bali, left with no other choice, presented his own head. Shri Vishnu placed his foot on Bali's head, pushing him back down to the netherworld, the rightful territory of Bali's reign. However, Bali prayed that he might be permitted to visit the earth once a year. Then it was the turn of Vishnu to grant the boon. Thus, the focus of this day is to see the good in others, including enemies. It is particularly reverenced in Kerala.
The second day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksh) of Kartika is also called Bhaiya-Duj. In the Vedic era, Lord Yama (Yamaraj, the Lord of Death) visited his sister Yamuna (Yami) who marked the auspicious Tilak (sacred mark) on his forehead. They dined and talked together, enjoying each other's company, exchanging special gifts as a token of their love for each other. Yamaraj declared that anyone who receives the Tilak from his sister on this day is truly blessed. Since that time the custom has been for brothers to visit their sisters to celebrate Bhaiyaduj. The 'Teeka' is applied on the brother's forehead, but it is primarily a day dedicated to sisters. Raksha Bandhan may be "brothers' day", but this is "sisters' day".
The Tilak is marked in sandal paste (Vishnu), sacred ash (Shiva) or red turmeric (Devi/Shakti) on the forehead between the eyebrows at the Ajna Chakra, the "Third Eye" (the material varies according to the object of veneration of the devotee). The third eye is considered the eye of wisdom and the opening of this potent energetic factor, the destroyer of karma, is the focus of a great deal of religious, yogic and tantric concentration.
Many Myths Surround DiwaliIn such a diverse nation as India, there are many many intertwining myths, swathed in a variety of interpretations. Another myth traces the origins of the festival to the annual "inspection tours" of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. The faithful believe that on this day Lakshmi goes around visiting her devotees, setting up residence in the house she finds best spruced up and most hospitable. Diwali is an occasion for spring cleaning, painting the walls, decorating the floor with attractive designs wrought in coloured powder, or paste made with rice. more details
Both Shri Krishna and Shri Rama are believed to be avatars (incarnations) of Shri Vishnu, the great maintainer of existence in our universe. The slaying by Krishna of the demon lord Narakasura after a long march from Dvaraka (in Gujarat) in the West to Pragjyotishapura (in Assam) in the East and the overcoming by Rama of the demon king Ravana in Lanka in the South and his triumphant march back to Ayodhya in the North is held to represent the unification of the four corners (North, South, East and West) of the land of Bharata Varsha (India) through the triumph of good over evil. Rama is venerated especially in the North, while Krishna is more favoured in the South. This unification under God is said to be the source of the underlying joy that surfaces at this festival.
More esoterically, or at a deeper level, the festival symbolises the victory of light over darkness and reminds us of the inner spark of divine light that lies in our hearts. The sense of coming home after a prolonged absence points us towards the inner light that is the central point and goal of the journey to self-realisation which lies at the heart of all religion. more details

Diwali / Deepawali Festival of Light

Deepawali or Diwali is certainly the biggest of all Hindu festivals. It's the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that's marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness. more details
The Origin of DiwaliHistorically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali. Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day. In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana. Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers. more details
These Four DaysEach day of Diwali has it's own tale, legend and myth to tell. The first day of the festival Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. It is on the third day of Deepawali — Kartika Shudda Padyami that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.
The Significance of Lights & FirecrackersAll the simple rituals of Diwali have a significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rains.
The Tradition of GamblingThe tradition of gambling on Deepawali also has a legend behind it. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva, and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuing year. From Darkness Unto Light...In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil; and it is with each Deepawali and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, that this simple truth finds new reason and hope. From darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope. Outside India, Diwali is more than a Hindu festival, it's a celebration of South-Asian identities. If you are away from the sights and sounds of Diwali, light a diya, sit quietly, shut your eyes, withdraw the senses, concentrate on this supreme light and illuminate the soul.

Diwali Celebration around the world

The festival of Diwali has been celebrated for ages and grows in attraction by the year. Everyone enjoys the goodies, the shine, glamour, and the endless enthusiasm for living that suddenly grips people around this time. But there is much more to Diwali than feasting and merrymaking. Diwali is a holy tradition, not to be put in the shade by the lights. Deepawali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. Celebrated joyously all over the country, it is a festival of wealth and prosperity. Dipawali is essentially a festival for householders. The preparations, the rituals, the entire celebration focuses on the home and family, spanning out to cover the community as a natural extension. Diwali is a festival synonymous with celebrations in India and among Indians all over the world, is an occasion for jubilation and togetherness. This is an occasion for young and the old, men and women, rich and poor - for everyone. Irrespective of their religious and economic background, the festival is celebrated throughout the country to ward off the darkness and welcome the light into their lives. At a metaphysical level, Deepawali is a festival signifying the victory of good over evil; the latter is destroyed and reduced to ashes by fireworks is the belief of the people. This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all the regions of India and is looked upon mainly as the beginning of New Year. As such the blessings of Lakshmi, the celestial consort of Lord Vishnu are invoked with prayers. Diwali is also celebrated outside India mainly in Guyana, Fiji, Malaysia, Nepal, Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Srilanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Africa, and Australia among the Hindus world over. Places as far as Southern America have record of celebrating Diwali. Diwali celebrations in Britain : The Indians are the second largest ethnic minority in Britain. To get rid of the feeling of missing their homeland, especially during festival times, the Indians here celebrate most of the festivals .The occasion is marked by visit to the local temple to worship the shrine of Lakshmi, which they have made for Diwali. Eating special sweets, burning of incense sticks, lighting the home and surroundings and the blowing of the conch shell follows the prayer session in the Lakshmi temple. The festival here is celebrated according to the Hindu solar calendar hence it falls in the months of October-November, amongst the cold, damp and windy months in Britain. Still the enthusiasm of the festival celebration makes the task of leaving small lamps on windowsills or by open doorways possible ignoring the chill. The lamps and diyas play their part in maintaining the atmosphere of Diwali at home. Diwali celebrations in Guyana : Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is located on the northeast coast of South America. Guyana is 82,978 square miles in area and has a population of about 7,70,000. Hindus constitute 33% of Guyana's total population. The Co-operative Republic of Guyana in Southern America celebrates Diwali according to the Hindu Solar calendar. The day of the festival is declared as a national holiday in the official calendar of Guyana. The tradition of celebrating the festival is believed to have been brought to Guyana in the year 1853 by the first indentured people from India. The legends related to the festival are similar to that of India. The celebration of the festival includes, distribution of sweets, illuminating the inside and outside of the house, exchange of greetings, cleaning of houses and wearing of new clothes. The celebrations hold special significance for the people of Guyana. The distribution of sweet signifies the importance of serving and sharing whereas exchange of greeting cards denotes the goodwill of each other. more details :

The sweets distributed mainly consist of pera, barfi, and kheer. The tradition of wearing new cloth for the people of Guyana is significant especially in this festival. They believe that wearing new cloth is the symbol of healthy souls in healthy bodies. Cleaning of their homes and keeping them well illuminated in and outside is a practice meant to illuminate the road for Goddess Lakshmi so that while goddess Lakshmi visits their home she faces no problem of light as the diwali night is regarded as the darkest night of the year. Diwali celebrations in Indonesia : The name Indonesia came from two Greek words: "Indos" meaning Indian and "Nesos" meaning islands. The majority of population follows Islam. Hindus constituent about 2% of Indonesia's total population. However, the Indonesian island of Bali is famous for celebrating the festival of Diwali, as a majority of the population here is that of Indians. It is one of the most revered festivals of the locals here. The celebration and rituals of the festival is mostly similar to that celebrated by their counterparts in India. Diwali celebrations in Malaysia : Fascinating in its diversity, Malaysia has many mesmerizing charms and attractions. With a population of about 20 million, comprising of a harmonious multi-ethnic mix of Malays, Malaysia promises a colorful potpourri of cultural traditions. Most are based on the various religious practices, beliefs and traditions influencing the costumes, festivals, ceremonies and rituals. The Hindu community of Malaysia constitutes about 8% of its total population .The community celebrates Diwali as a symbol of triumph of good over evil. The Malaysian people call diwali as Hari Diwali. This festival is celebrated during the 7th month of the Hindu solar calendar. The south Indian traditional of oil bath precedes the festivities. The celebration includes visits to temples and prayers at household altars. Small lamps made from clay and filled with coconut oil and wicks are a common sight to signify the victory of Lord Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, over the demon king Ravana. Diwali is celebrated almost all over the Malaysia except in Sarawak & Federal Territory of Labuan. Diwali celebrations in Mauritius : Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean that lies to the east of Madagascar. This beautiful landmass is full of picturesque landscapes and enchanting spots. Mauritius accounts a 63% of Indian majority of which 80% follow Hinduism. Hence, celebration of almost all the Hindu festivals in this island is a common phenomenon. In Mauritius, Diwali celebration is an age-old tradition. It holds special significance for the natives, who believe that Diwali has been celebrated even long before the return of Lord Rama from 14 years of exile and his coronation as the king. The festival is marked by lightening of earthen lamps in rows making images out of the rows. Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of wealth and crackers are burnt to scare away evil spirits. Diwali celebrations in Nepal : Nepal is a landlocked country nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Nepal, a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society is the only Hindu Kingdom of the world. Diwali is celebrated here with the usual Hindu festivities and rituals. Diwali in Nepal is known as Tihar. Just like most places in India Diwali is celebrated here to honor the goddess of wealth and god of prosperity Lakshmi and Ganesh respectively. The festival of light falls in the months of October or November on the day of Amavasya - the darkest day of the year. The festival here continues for five days. Every day has its special significance. The first day is dedicated to cows as they cook rice and feed the cows believing that goddess Lakshmi comes on cows. The second day is for Dogs as the Vahana of Bhairava. Preparation of delicious food especially meant for the dog is a typical characteristic of the day. Lights and lamps are lit to illuminate the entire surrounding and some of the specialty items are prepared to mark the third day of the festival. Fireworks, Lamps and crackers are widely used. The fourth day is dedicated to Yama, the Hindu God of Death. He is prayed for long life. The fifth final day is Bhhaya Dooj dedicated for the brothers who are wished long life and prosperity by their sisters. Diwali celebrations in South Africa : South Africa is located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. The South African culture is a mix of variety of cultures. Asians in South Africa constitute two per cent of South Africa's population, and most are of Indian origin. Indians in South Africa are descended from indentured labourers who were brought by the British from India in the 19th century, mostly to work in sugar plantations or mines (especially, coal) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and later also from traders who emigrated to South Africa. A decade prior to the colonization by the United States of America, the nation had the largest immigrant Indian community in the world. Interestingly, Indian South Africans form the largest group in the world of people of Indian descent born outside India. At present, South Africa has almost one million immigrant Indians most of whom are concentrated in the eastern regions of Natal and Transvaal of the country. About 65% of Hindus, 15% of Muslims and 20% of Christians live in this area. Due to the majority of the Hindu population, a number of Hindu festivals are celebrated here. Naturally, Diwali also holds an important place in the festival calendar of the region. The celebration is more or less same to that in India. A new book on Indian indentured labourers reveals that the 2007 Diwali Celebrations in South Africa marked the 100th year of celebrations of the festival in the country.Diwali celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago : Trinidad is the most southern of the Caribbean islands, lying only seven miles off the Venezuelan coast, is one of the most exciting, colorful islands of the West Indies. Considered as the land of the Humming Bird, Trinidad and Tobago has a good number of Indian population. For that reason, Hindu festivals, customs, traditions and observances forms an integral part of the society, which comprises the unique beauty of the twin island state. The Diwali celebration has a unique flavor here in the Caribbean island nation. Here 43 per cent of the 1.3 million populations are ethnic Indians. The Diwali celebrations are usually marked as an occasion to unify the nation that consists of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Indo-Trinidadians and Afro-Trinidadians. The festival day is regarded as a national holiday. The festival is also marked by scores of functions besides the usual rituals of the festivity. The functions and celebrations also have an official imprint as the Ministers of the Government also participate in the celebrations sometimes. The belief behind the festival is same as of India, which is, prevalence of good over evil. The celebrations continue for over a week and the headquarters of the National Council of Indian Culture at Diwali Nagar becomes the focal point. more details :

Diwali Arati

Aartis are devotional songs sung in praise of and devoted to the Gods and Goddesses. Usually sung in groups during worship, these are special prayers through which we admire and appraise the Almighty Lord, Gods, Goddesses and other divine beings and entreat them to shower us with blessings. The melodious Aartis serve to create a divine ambience and are an integral part of almost all Hindu religious festivals; the auspicious occasion of Diwali is no exception. Aartis infuse a special spirit into the glorious festival of lights. Here we bring for you a collection of Diwali Aarti. Go over the lines of these devotional songs for Diwali. To share these timeless aarti songs with your friends, relatives and near ones ... MORE DETAILS FOR ARATI

Diwali Recipes

Food serves an important part in the Diwali celebration. Sweet Dishes are the most popular dishes of diwali. The ladies distribute special Diwali sweets made by them on this occasion to their friends and neighbours. Snacks - both sweet and savoury - are also prepared and eaten in vast quantities Besides, different veg and non-veg dishes are also popular.Although these days people mostly buy them from shops instead of preparing them in home. We have a lot of Diwali recepies of both snacks and Diwali sweets. These mouth-watering preparations are easy to cook also. They are-
Dry Fruit KheerThis sweet dish is highly popular during the Diwali festival.
RasmalaiThere are various procedures to make rasmalai. This delicious dessert is mainly popular in West Bengal. more details visit
Gulab JamunIt's a classic and traditional Indian sweet dish.
Kaju barfiKaju barfi is one of the tastiest sweet dishes of Diwali.
Cabbage 'N carrot BhujiaThis preparation is also easy to cook and tasty.
Dahi badaThis south Indian dish is highly popular throughout India.
Masala CashewsThis can be an ideal snacks for Dewali evening.
Mini samosaMini samosa can be cooked very easily and it's tasty too.
Chhole bhatureChhole Bhature is enjoyed at any time of the day.
SandeshSandesh is a typical Bengali dish but appreciated throughout India.
Shahi PulaoThis Mughlai dish can be enjoyed in Diwali lunch or dinner.
Chicken Tikka masalaThis mouth-watering dish is also popular as Diwali dish.
Mughlai mutton KormaThis North Indian mutton preparation is popular as side dishes at any occasion.
Pista LassiThis drink is usually served after meal.
Veg pakodasThis is an easy to cook Diwali snacks.

Wish you a Happy Diwali

Diwali is fast approaching and it is the perfect time to celebrate the festival of lights with warm Diwali wishes for family and friends. Diwali wishes may be sent in the form of greeting cards, gifts, flowers and various other reminders.
Few factors ought to be kept in mind while choosing the perfect way to send Diwali wishes. The recipient is of primordial importance as the type of Diwali wishes wishing a happy Diwali depend on the person receiving them. Diwali wishes may vary depending on the age, gender and geographic location of the person, the Diwali wishes are sent to. more details visit
Diwali wishes carry the message of a happy Diwali which may be accompanied with embellishments like flowers, decorations, combo gifts and a host of other goodies. Personalized gifts are gaining prominence of late and they are sent as happy Diwali gifts. The personalized messages add to the appeal of Diwali wishes.
As we are living in Generation I, it is important to know that there are several options online that cater to the needs of Diwali shoppers. They offer a hassle free shopping experience and a wide category of Diwali wishes, made special with fast delivery options. They are not only an easy option but cost effective as well. So spruce up for Diwali with specials messages and gift options to send Diwali wishes in the most special way. more details visit

Celebrate Diwali

Deepawali or Diwali, the most pan-Indian of all Hindu festivals, is a festival of lights symbolising the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word `Deepawali' literally means rows of diyas (clay lamps). This festival commemorates Lord Rama's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. Twinkling oil lamps or diyas light up every home and firework displays are common all across the country. The goddess Lakshmi (consort of Vishnu), who is the symbol of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped on this day. This festive occasion also marks the beginning of the Hindu new year and Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day. Details in
Another view is that Deepawali is meant to celebrate the destruction of the arrogant tyrant Bali at the hands of Vishnu when the latter appeared in his Vamana (dwarf) avatar. The occasion of Deepawali sees the spring-cleaning and white-washing of houses; decorative designs or rangolis are painted on floors and walls. New clothes are bought and family members and relatives gather together to offer prayers, distribute sweets and to light up their homes.
The Festival of Lights This is one of the oldest Hindu festivals occuring in the month of Kartik, which commemorates the return of Rama to Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years. It also marks the beginning of the new year and is celebrated with the lighting of lamps. Diwali or Deepawali, literally 'an array of lamps', is the festival of lights and is celebrated on the darkest night of Kartik. It is perhaps the most important festival in India. Originally a Hindu festival, it has now crossed the bounds of religion and is celebrated by all in India with fervor and gaiety. This day is a public holiday all over India. Diwali is also perhaps the oldest festival still celebrated today and is mentioned in the Ramayana. The celebrations include the lighting of lamps and candles, and the bursting of crackers (fireworks). Friends and neighbours exchange special sweets. People buy new clothes and in fact, in certain communities, it is absolutely essential to wear new clothes on this day. Diwali in India is equivalent to Christmas in the West. Therefore it is also the time when people get the festival bonus to their salaries. It marks the beginning of the new year for a large majority of Hindus, especially the trader community. Preparations for the festival begin many days prior to Diwali. It is time for a thorough cleaning of the house, for the belief is that Lakshmi will enter clean and nicely decorated houses. The scientific reason is that the monsoon is a time for insects and fungus to breed.With the end of the monsoon, homes need to be cleaned and painted, and belongings aired and dried before the onset of winter. The festival itself extends over about a week even though the most important day is the new moonday. In east Bihar and northern India, two days before Diwali is celebrated as Dhanteras in honour of Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods. He is believed to have emerged with a pot of amrita during the samudra manthan. People bathe early in the morning and observe a fast, which is broken only after sunset with sweetmeats, puri and other delicacies. On Dhanteras, new kitchen utensils are bought and kept at the place of worship. The buying of utensils, according to one theory, relates to the myth of Dhanvantari emerging from the ocean with a pot in his hand. Since he is also the physician of the gods, cleanliness and hygiene are essential to this festival. The day before Diwali is celebratedas Choti Diwali or 'small Diwali'. It is Diwali on a smaller scale, with fewer lights lit and fewer crackers burst. The morning after Choti Diwali, the women of the house make beautiful, coloured rangoli in the doorway and courtyard. Tiny footprints made out of rice paste are a special feature of the rangolis made for Diwali. They signify the footprints of Lakshmi, as she enters the house. In Hindu homes, Diwali celebrations involve a ritual puja to Lakshmi and also to Rama in the evening. Songs in honour of the gods are sung and arati is performed. Oil or ghee diyas are also lit. The gods are offered kheel, batashe and khilone and various sweetmeats. After the puja, the diyas are placed in and around the house: in the doorway, near the Tulasi plant, the backyard, every room and the back and front gates. After this, crackers are burst, and people meet friends and neighbours to exchange good wishes and sweets. Since Diwali falls on the new moon night, lamps are lit to brighten this moonless night. According to a myth, Lakshmi will not enter a dark house. The lamps also welcome home the spirits of dead ancestors, who are believed to visit on this auspicious night. In addition, the light frightens away any evil spirit that might be wandering about near the house on this night. In Orissa, lamps are lit to light up the dark path that the spirits of ancestors take back to heaven. In modern times, ghee diyas have been replaced by wax candles and coloured electric bulbs. In many areas, there is a competition of sorts among neighbours as everyone tries to have the brightest lights. The origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvesting season. It was thus extremely important to the largely pastoral Vaishya community. Their granaries were full, and the weather was good, at the end of the long monsoon and before the arduous winter. It was therefore a good time to celebrate. The Vaishya community began their new year with this happy occassion, after paying their debts and clearing their ledgers. As the religion developed, various mythological stories and explanations were attributedto this festival to give it religious sanction. However today, this historical explanation is all but lost among the many stories and folklore linked with the origin of the festival. According to the most popular one, Diwali is celebrated in honour of Rama, his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana, returning to their kingdom Ayodhya after a 14-year exile.To celebrate this event, people at Ayodhya are believed to have lit up their houses with lamps. The illuminations also symbolise the removal of spiritual darkness and the onset of happiness and prosperity. According to another belief, it is on this day that Lakshmi emerged from the ocean during the samudra manthan .Lakshmi Puja commemorates her birth and therefore forms a major part of Diwali celebrations. Being associated with the goddess of wealth and fortune, Diwali is specially important to the Vaishya community. Most tradesmen close their old ledgers and dealings and start afresh with new ledgers after Diwali. This day, with its emphasis on money, is also considered lucky for gambling. Giving social sanction to a vice, a popular saying states that one who does not gamble on this day will beborn a donkey in his next birth. Casinos and local gambling houses do brisk business during the Diwali week. In most homes, people invite their friends and relatives over to play cards. Another reason for the celebration of Diwali is that it marks the killing of the evil Narkasura at the hands of Krishna Naraka is believed to have abducted 16,000 women. Krishna killed him and rescued these women whom he later married. Naraka is the personification of hell and is believed to be the monsoon during which all activities come to a standstill. Though Diwali is equally important in the south and the north, the celebrations are markedly different. In South India, the story widely associated with Diwali is that of Narasimha, the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu. According to a legend, Hiranyakshipu was an evil demon king. He was unjust and cruel to his people. However, he was almost invincible, having extracted a boon from Brahma that he would be killed neither by beast nor man, neither inside nor outside, neither during the day nor at night. When his atrocities became unbearable, the gods sought Vishnu's help. Assuming his fifth incarnation of Narasimha, the man-lion,Vishnu killed Hiranyakshipu with his claws in the courtyard just before day break, hence steering clear of the boundaries of the boon. For this reason in the south, people light diyas in their houses on the day preceding Diwali. The next day begins early. First is the ritual bath, which begins with an oil massage of the hair and body. This is absolutely essential on this day. Its importance probably refers to cleaning oneself thoroughly after the monsoon months. After bathing, people receive new clothes and gifts from their elders, which they are expected to wear. The family then prays to Vishnu for its well-being and prosperity. After the prayers start the main celebrations which, as in the north, consist of bursting crackers and lighting candles.At day break, all celebrations end.People then visit friends and relatives and exchange sweets. References to the word 'atishbaji' or'crackers' are found even in ancient literature. The bursting of crackers is today the most important and eagerly-awaited part of the Diwali celebrations. According to one belief, the sound that resounds throughout the universe makes all aware of the great homecoming of Rama. Another belief is that the crackers are an indication ofthe joy of the people living on the earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects, found in plenty after the rains. The use of high-tech bomb crackers is fairly recent. At times, Diwali celebrations get ugly, especially in the metropolitan cities. In New Delhi, people start bursting crackers in the evening and this continues till the early hours ofthe morning. As a result, the city is engulfed in toxic fumes and smoke for almost 10 hours. Another problem with crackers is that their manufacture is usually unregulated. As a result, the manufacturing units are unsafe and the material used is inflammable and toxic.Every year, many units are destroyed inaccidental fires, resulting in the death of those employed there. Kerala is probably the only state in India where even Hindus do not celebrate Diwali. The major festival there is Onam. In West Bengal, Kali Puja is performed on Diwali as it is believed that on this day Kali killed the wicked Raktavija. Being one of the main festivals of the trader community, markets are gaily decorated and lit up. Many safety measures and precautions are telecast on television and radio, especially for children. The fire departments are kept on the alert, and the municipal corporations of bigger cities also organise buckets and tankers of water at strategic locations. The second day after Diwali is celebrated as Bhai Duja when sisters apply tilak to their brothers and pray for their long and happy life. In all likelihood, this ritual was originally intended only for married women. Since they celebrated Diwali with their in-laws, this festival allowed them to come to their parents' home during this auspicious time. They got some time to meet the family and to rest after the hectic activity of the preceding week.And it gave their parents an opportunity to give them gifts, an opportunity they did not often get. Nowadays however, among many communities Bhai Duja is observed by both married and unmarried sisters. Details in


The name Kali derives from the Sanskrit root word Kal meaning time. Nothing escapes from time. Her Tibetan Buddhism counterpart is named Kala, a male figure. Of the Hindu goddesses, Goddess Kali Ma is the most misunderstood. The Encyclopedia Britannica is very mistaken in this quote, "Major Hindu goddess whose iconography, cult, and mythology commonly associate her with death, sexuality, violence, and, paradoxically in some of her later historical appearances, motherly love."
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Maa Kali Puja in India 2009

The renowned Kali Puja, co-incides with Diwali celebrations hence it is also known as Diwali Kali Puja. Diwali Kali Puja is celebrated with much gusto in the state of West Bengal. The major distinction is that the rest of India worships Goddess Laxmi on this auspicious day and in the eastern state; the Kali avatar of Goddess Durga is worshipped.The preparations of Diwali Kali Puja are akin to the ones seen in the rest of the country where the idol of the deity is worshipped with much reverence. Diwali Kali Puja is performed to diminish the ego and negative tendencies that may be a hindrance for spiritual progress and material prosperity. Diwali Kali Puja is performed during Karthik Amavasya in the month of October/November. It is performed to kill the evil that is there both inside and outside us. more details
In a battle between Gods and demons; Kali started vanquishing demons and in a fit of rage killed anyone that came in the way. In order to bring order to the situation, Lord Shiva placed himself beneath the Goddess and asked her to stop the savage act. Goddess Kali was so taken aback that she put her tongue out and that is how she is revered even to this day. This significant day is observed as Diwali Kali Puja and is performed at midnight on the Amavasya night. Diwali Kali Puja is known to rid mortals of sins and allow prosperity, mental calm and happiness to enter into lives of devotees. more details

Diwali Festival 2009 in India

Diwali festival is a 5 day Hindu festival in India which occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika. Diwali when translated means "rows of lighted lamps" and the occasion is also referred to as the Festival of Lights. During Diwali, Indian homes are cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lamps, lights and candles are lit as a greeting to Goddess Laksmi. view more details
Gifts are exchanged and sweets, festive meals are prepared during Diwali. Because there are many castes and regions in India, there are myriad manifestations of the Diwali festival.
In some places, the festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship Laksmi. In the Indian culture, wealth is not viewed as a corruptive power. Instead, a wealthy person is considered to have been rewarded for good deeds of a past life, i.e karma.
On the second day of the festival, Kali, the goddess of Strength, is worshipped.
On the 3rd day ( the last day of the year in the lunar calendar), lamps are lighted and shine brightly in homes. The lamp symbolizes knowledge.
The fourth day of Diwali falls on the first day of the lunar New Year. At this time, old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. The books are worshipped in a special ceremony by Indian priests and participants are encouraged to remove anger, hate, and jealousy from their lives.
On the last day (Balipratipada) of the festival, Bali, an ancient Indian king, is recalled and remembered. Bali destroyed the centuries old philosophies of the society. However, in addition to this, he is remembered for being a generous and kind person. Hence, the significance of this day is to see the good in others, including enemies.
The Jain communities of India celebrate Diwali as a New Year's Day. Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained his Nirvana on the day of Diwali. Sikhs celebrate Diwali to express joy at the return of the sixth Guru to Amritsar in 1620; Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned him along with 52 Hindu kings.
The Guru was granted freedom but refused to leave until the kings were also released.
Diwali is by far the most enthusiastically enjoyed festival in India. People of different nationalities, races, religions and backgrounds come together to share their joys generating a feeling of universal brotherhood and inter-religious harmony.

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Diwali Festival

Diwali or Deepaawali means an Array of Lamps i.e .Rows of diyas (Deep = Lamp, Vali =Array)
Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. Enthusiastically enjoyed by people of every religion, its magical and radiant touch creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity.
As a family festival, it is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra, on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashwin (October / November).
It is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. It celebrates the victory of good over evil - and the glory of light. This festival commemorates Lord Rama's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile.
Homes are decorated, sweets are distributed by everyone and thousands of lamps lit to create a world of fantasy.
Diwali is a time for fun and revelry. Diwali is also a time for pooja and tradition.

Happy Deepawali

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Auspicious Diwali
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This year Diwali being on November 9th Friday is an auspicious day for all of us!! I start waiting for Diwali many days before !! I buy new pairs of clothes and buy lots of fireworks(best part of Diwali)I paint my house, buy lots of gifts and distribute it amongst my loved ones and start bursting crackers 10 days before!!On Diwali day I get up early bathe my self and have some delicious "PENNY"(traditional sweet of Diwali) and perform Lakshmi Pooja. And I will lit some diyas and burst a lot of crackers!!After Diwali is over, i miss it a lot! Santosh
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Diwali Preparations in Indian Homes Diwali is one the most celebrated festival in India. The festival is the most joyous of all and is keenly awaited by the people. There is huge excitement amongst Hindus to celebrate the festival in the grandest possible way. Markets are abuzz with activity as people indulge in a major shopping spree in shops loaded with goods.
Preparations for Diwali festival begin months in advance. As there is a custom to wear new clothes in Diwali there is lot of planning in Indian houses as to who is going to wear what. Then the dress is to be matched with whole lot of accessories. A list is also prepared for gifts meant for relatives and friends. It is believed that Diwali is the best time to build relationships with thoughtful gifts presented with love. Young ones in the family are showered with gifts and blessings on Diwali.
Womenfolk make themselves busy with massive house cleaning work that is taken at this time of the year. This is because it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi - the Hindu mythological Goddess of Wealth visits only spic and span houses on Diwali. Some people even get their houses white washed every Diwali. Upholstery of the houses is redone and the house is given a fresh new look for the bright Deepawali Festival. Most Indian ladies also prepare traditional festive goodies like laddoos, pinnis, mathri, papdi and shakkar pare days before the festival thus setting the mood for Diwali.
For children the biggest joy that Diwali brings is the opportunity to burn crackers. They start collecting money in their piggy banks months before the festival so that they are able to purchase the fanciest and loudest of all crackers. They just love the bright and boisterous part of the Diwali celebrations.
People staying away from their homes make it a point to visit their family on Diwali. They start making preparations by getting air or rail tickets booked days in advance. There is a huge pressure on transport services at this point in time as everybody wants to reach home at the time of Diwali Puja.

... by Ruchi Sinha; Age 23
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The Day of DiwaliThe day of Diwali in Indian homes if full of excitement and activity. Rituals begin early in the morning and continue till late in the evening. People wake up early and clean up their houses. Torans are put up on doors and the traditional alpana or rangoli is decorated in the front courtyard to welcome guests.
In North India, there is a tradition to buy ‘laiyya - lawa’ which are forms of puffed rice. These are bought along with sugar toys that come in the shape of animals. Children particularly enjoy the shapes of these sweets. Earthen lamps called Diwali diyas are bought in bulk by the people. Hindus also get a new pair of artistic Lakshmi Ganesha idol for Lakshmi Puja that is to be held later in the evening.
Fresh sweets are prepared by lady of the house on Diwali. This could be laddoos, kheer, halwa or any other special sweet dish. Gifts to be given to relatives are packed by children. When all is ready and done people start visiting each other and exchange gifts and Diwali Greetings with a warm hug and lots of best wishes.
In the evening, people dress up in bright new clothes. Ladies deck themselves with heavy gold jewelry and adorn their hair with flower strands or gajras. Diyas are lighted in every corner of the house. Some even illuminate their house with strands of electric bulbs. When everything is set it is time for Lakshmi Puja. All family members gather in the worship room and perform Puja follwed by arti. People pray to God for prosperity and happiness in their lives and in the lives of those around them.
A lavish family dinner follows Puja. And then comes the time to celebrate Diwali with crackers. The sky presents a resplendent view with glowing sparks of crackers. There is jubilation and joy all around. Ravi Thapar; Age 17
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Divali is an important feature in the Hindu religion. We celebrate Divali as the day Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating the Devil Ravana. In Divali, we light diyas or oil lamps all around our homes. Our parents make sweets and other goodies. We give food to those who need. We invite our family, friends and relatives over. In Divali we light fire crackers, rattlers and fire sticks. There are many fireworks in the night of this festival. Rahul Pedagandham
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Most Spirited FestivalDiwali is one of the most spirited and important festival. It was on the day of Diwali that Lord Ramji had come from a war with the evil Ravan. Diwali festival celebrates the arrival of Ramji in Ayodhya.
Here, I will share my experiences of Diwali that I celebrated with my family in Oct,2004. My family and I had loads of fun on this day not only because there were lots of food or firecrackers but because we were all together and that matters most. Now I will explain to you what we do on this lovely day. When we wake up, we clean our house inside and out. We do this because Goddess Laxmi will be visiting us then we take a bath and wear new clothes. Then we all pray to god and invite our friends. In the evening, we light big and small light diyas all around the house. We also play a couple of games and enjoy ourselves. When darkness hits we start the firecrackers. I love seeing firecrackers because they produce so many bright colors in the sky. This is followed by the big feast. I love the food that my mom makes like puri, sweets and much much more. After that everyone leaves and we again pray to God for a magnificent Diwali day!!!! Geetu Bhanot
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The Festival of LightsDiwali is known as "The Festival of Lights" and celebrated in the religion of Hinduism. Oil lamps made out of clay are lit to symbolize celebration and hope for mankind. This festival is celebrated for five days at the end of the Hindu month Ashwayuja which would be during late October and early November. It’s one of the most popular festivals that Hindus eagerly wait for. At dusk Diwali celebrators light their lamps (diyas) and perform a pooja (ceremony/prayer) to Goddess Lakshmi asking for wealth and prosperity. They also give money to the poor and homeless. Another bright tradition is to set off firecrackers. Firecrackers as well as diyas symbolize the battle between Lord Rama and King Ravana. They visit friends and family and exchange gifts and sweets.
The most prominent belief of Diwali is the return of Lord Rama from his exile in the forests and his victory over the demon king Ravana. But there are several different beliefs of the origin of Diwali. Such as, the day when Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. Another belief is that Diwali originated as the day when King Bali obeyed the order of Vishnu and went to rule the nether-world. Diwali is considered one of the foremost holidays in Hinduism and is my favorite Hindu holiday. Meghana

Diwali Festival

Diwali is a time for fun and revelry. During Diwali, India comes to a standstill except for family life and feasts. Diwali means decorating the house with tiny earthen lamps, wearing crisp new clothes, bursting firecrackers, meeting family and friends and of course enjoying the scrumptious sweets and savories prepared specially for this occasion. Fun, frolic, frenzied buying. Diwali Festival imparts an unprecedented fun, hope, value, a whole platter of creativity in form of making colorful rangoli patterns, special Diwali recepies, playing cards and making greeting cards. Regardless of its origin and local interpretations, Diwali is a day of fun, festivities and joy for people of all ages, throughout India. Weeks before Diwali, every Hindu family is busy painting and decorating their homes, and shopping for gifts. On the diwali day, shops are packed with people buying freshly made sweets and fire crackers; mothers are busy preparing special dishes for the family feasts. Late evening is the time for a special Pooja ( worship) at home, and illuminating the exterior of their houses with the rows of oil lamps, candles and colourful lanterns. Streets, stores and buildings are lit with electric lights and neon signs in such a way that the dark amavasya night and every street echoes with the laughter of children. People dressed in new clothes, visit relatives and friends to exchange greetings and gifts.

Diwali, or Deepavali, is the Hindu festival of lights

Diwali festival is a 5 day Hindu festival in India which occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika. Diwali when translated means "rows of lighted lamps" and the occasion is also referred to as the Festival of Lights. During Diwali, Indian homes are cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lamps, lights and candles are lit as a greeting to Goddess Laksmi. more details
Gifts are exchanged and sweets, festive meals are prepared during Diwali. Because there are many castes and regions in India, there are myriad manifestations of the Diwali festival.
In some places, the festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship Laksmi. In the Indian culture, wealth is not viewed as a corruptive power. Instead, a wealthy person is considered to have been rewarded for good deeds of a past life, i.e karma.
On the second day of the festival, Kali, the goddess of Strength, is worshipped.
On the 3rd day ( the last day of the year in the lunar calendar), lamps are lighted and shine brightly in homes. The lamp symbolizes knowledge. more details
The fourth day of Diwali falls on the first day of the lunar New Year. At this time, old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. The books are worshipped in a special ceremony by Indian priests and participants are encouraged to remove anger, hate, and jealousy from their lives.
On the last day (Balipratipada) of the festival, Bali, an ancient Indian king, is recalled and remembered. Bali destroyed the centuries old philosophies of the society. However, in addition to this, he is remembered for being a generous and kind person. Hence, the significance of this day is to see the good in others, including enemies.
The Jain communities of India celebrate Diwali as a New Year's Day. Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained his Nirvana on the day of Diwali. Sikhs celebrate Diwali to express joy at the return of the sixth Guru to Amritsar in 1620; Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned him along with 52 Hindu kings.
The Guru was granted freedom but refused to leave until the kings were also released.
Diwali is by far the most enthusiastically enjoyed festival in India. People of different nationalities, races, religions and backgrounds come together to share their joys generating a feeling of universal brotherhood and inter-religious harmony. more details

Diwali Calendar / Deepawali Date

Diwali date changes every year as the day is calculated according to the position of the moon. Find out when is Diwali 2009 in this exclusive Diwali Calendar!! The detailed calendar page clearly points out Diwali Date 2009. Also find out Diwali Date for the past and coming year in the Diwali Calendar 2008 and Diwali Calendar 2010.
According to Hindu reckoning, the date of Diwali falls on 15th day of the dark fortnight in the auspicious Hindu month of Kartik or the month of October/November in English calendar. This Diwali day falls on the amavasya or the no moon day. Diwali date comes 20 days after the popular festival of Dussehra or Vijaya Dashmi.
So go ahead, mark the Diwali Date 2009 in your personal calendar and start planning for celebrations!! more details