Diwali, the Indian festival of lights
When? Annually in October or November. In 2020, Diwali is on November 14.
The meaning. Diwali is the greatest and brightest Indian holiday of the year, which originated as a Hindu harvest festival and marked the last autumn harvest before winter. It’s celebrated with great enthusiasm and means the victory of light over darkness.
How it is celebrated. Colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. Diwali is celebrated for five days, and every day has its own rituals. On the first day, women clean and renovate their houses and go shopping for gold or kitchen utensils. On the second day, people decorate their homes with clay lamps, diyas, and candles.
The third day is the main day of the holiday. Families get together for “Lakshmi puja”, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi. They perform Lakshmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings from the Goddess of Wealth. Exchange of gifts is a pleasant sign of this holiday. On the two last days of Diwali friends and relatives visit each other with presents and best wishes.
“I was really excited to see how people in India celebrate this festival”, Majid Khosravian, a 35-year-old Iranian, says. Majid attended a Master of Business Administration at the University of Pune, India, and spent there some wonderful years there. Then he continued his studies in Germany and finally moved to Austria, but he is still very close with the Indian community.
“I remember my first Diwali festival in 2007”, Majid tells. “In front of every house people installed very beautiful and colorful geometrical paper shapes with a lamp inside. It was so amazing that you couldn’t stop looking at them. You could hear Indian songs everywhere and see dancing people just on the road. On this day, you forget all your pain and just enjoy and share the happiness, love and light”.
Text: Vita Vitrenko