Every year, during the fall, an ancient Hindu festival called “Diwali” is celebrated. Diwali is also commonly known as “Deepavali” and it means the “festival of lights.” According to Hinduism Today, “the festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.”
This year, Diwali begins on Thursday October 23, and the preparations and rituals typically extend over five days. According to the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night, or the night when the festival coincides with the darkest, new moon of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika, falls between mid-October and mid-November.
In preparation for Diwali, people decorate their homes, dress p in new clothes, light lamps and candles (also called diyas), and participate in family puja, or prayers, to Lakshmi-the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Following puja, there are fireworks and a feast, then an exchange of gifts.
Diwali is an official holiday among Hindus in countries such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobego, Suriname, Malayasia, Singapore and Fiji.
Although these are typically the places where Diwali is celebrated, there was recently a Diwali festival in Korea called “Indians in Korea” that featured Indian celebrities from around the world. The host of the celebration in Korea was Bollywood celebrity Dev Anand Jr.
“It’s quite common in the USA, Australia, Canada, to get in Bollywood celebrities for Diwali festivals, but in Korea, we have a very small Indian community, but it’s growing fast. For the first time, we had a Bollywood celebrity here for the festival,” said Indians In Korea Vice President Rohidas Arote. “The multicultural touch is coming now.”
To learn more about Diwali, and what celebrations are planned around the world this week, CLICK HERE.