11/16/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/16/2020 09:33
Popularly known as the festival of lights, Diwali holds a special significance for every Hindu. The very word literally translates to 'A row of lights'. It is one of the few symbols that boldly stand out from Hinduism's enigmatic collection of hieroglyphs.
Diwali that hails the victory of good over evil, falls in the months of October and November following the Hindu calendar. The lightning of oil lamps which is the main ritualistic event associated with Diwali epitomises the end of negativity and inclusion of all to celebrate the goodness in humankind. Annual cleaning, freshly painted homes, new clothes, colourful rangoli, sumptuous feasts and re-engaging with social communities form some of the most memorable moments of my life.
Celebrating the return of revered King Ram to his kingdom by the sowing of Rabi crop or invocation of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and embracing the virtues of selflessness and giving, rather than superfluous extravagance; and introspecting the past year are all acts that my father stressed as being important during Diwali. This is in fact the real essence of Diwali, the core of a very popular festival which is assumed to be ostentatious by those unaware of its inherent philosophy. As kids, my siblings and I saw these learnings as the major and most important part of this festival, and it has always defined Diwali for me as such.
In its truest sense, Diwali, a festival which stands tall, is no different from Christmas that is celebrated world over, Loy Krathong of Thailand, Spanish Lass fellas, Israelis Hannukah or Aomori Nebuta Masturi of Japan.
Each marks the homecoming of folks, and union of families to celebrate love and family values.
A more scientific approach on why and how the evolution of this festival took place suggests that it has more to do with the tilting of earth on its axis and less on folklore. As the harsh months of winter approach, the subcontinent, as is with all living beings, the human too prepares. The mandatory decluttering and cleaning of homes preceding Deepavali, is to prepare a clean and cosy home for cold months. The visiting, gifting and breaking bread together is for want of human companionship during the bleak days. The glow of warm oil lamps comforts and prepares to cheerily go through winter. The brightness of colourful rangolis and adornments help break the monotone of the winter. The entire driving force behind the celebrations of Deepavali or even Christmas is the change in the human psyche.
No matter which side appeals to you this Diwali, adorn your home with festive colours, light a few oil lamps, make sweets and throw parties (virtually, this year). Along the way, bring your hands together in gratitude to the power we call God that keeps our earth spinning with energy of life.
Mahima Gupta Jain