One of my favorite festivals—Diwali. It’s one of the most celebrated events in India. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil and people light rows of lights to commemorate heroic figures in Indian mythology that triumphed over the forces of evil. Diwali is also a propitious time for new endeavors, and many people clean their homes and open all their windows and doors to welcome luck and good fortune during Diwali. The exchange of gifts is also traditional during this holiday, and many people host dinners and Diwali parties.
Regional traditions vary immensely when it comes to celebrating Diwali, because each community has developed its own unique way of celebrating this holiday. Technically, Diwali is five days long, with each day representing a different facet of the festival of lights. In many communities, people pick one day of Diwali in particular to celebrate, often with fireworks and other large public festivities.
Many Diwali festivals also honor specific Hindu gods like Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesha, the god of auspicious or new beginnings. In many regions of India, people also exchange traditional Diwali greetings when they encounter each other on the street; these greetings express a mutual desire for good luck and fortune in the coming year.
If you happen to be visiting India during Diwali, be prepared to be swept up in the festivities. Many communities essentially shut down for Diwali celebrations, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about Indian history and culture first hand. Many people are happy to share their religious and cultural traditions with curious and respectful visitors.
We fellow Indians at Salem would be celebrating Diwali on October 17 – Come be a part of the festivities!