How will you celebrate Diwali?

Happy Diwali
Happy Diwali

Deewali or Deepavali, the most popular festival of India falls on Monday, Oct 27, 2008. How will you celebrate?

There are different beliefs, rituals, mythological tales and legends associated with Deepavali, the festival of lights. Even the name has variations ranging from Diwali, to Deevali. In Hindi, its expansion ‘Deepon ki Aavali’ means row of lights, which are used to represent this festival. Some believe that this is the day Lord Krishna destroyed Narakasur, the demon. Others believe that this is the day Lord Ram vanquished the demon king Ravan. No matter what the belief, this festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is one of the festivals that is celebrated in almost every state and region of India. To some, it represents the birth of a new year. Rituals like playing cards all night are believed to bring in prosperity. For others, it is an auspicious day to buy gold or a new house or appliances.

Deepavali is celebrated in different ways. People meet friends and relatives, exchange sweets and goodies, wear new clothes, worship in temples, decorate the house and porch with lamps and rangoli. Blockbuster movies hit the theatres. Prime time programs revolve around interviews with film stars and how they celebrate the festival.

Amidst all this fanfare, the true significance of the occasion tends to get lost. Now might be a good time to remind ourselves the real meaning of Deepavali. A lamp or light symbolizes dispelling the darkness of ignorance and evil in each of us. Ravan and Narakasur represent the demons in us. Each of us possesses the noble qualities that Lord Ram and Lord Krishna propagated. Deepavali is a reminder of the eternal flame glowing within us. It is this realization that leads to enlightenment, bliss and everlasting peace.

So by all means, celebrate Deepavali with friends and family. Exchange gifts and deewali ecards. Wear your finest clothes and jewelry. Treat yourself to a feast and fireworks.

But in addition, why not start and end the day spending a few quiet moments looking inwards?

Wish you a very peaceful, safe and happy Diwali!