Diwali – a Celebration of Light

By Ashish Kanitkar, via Wikimedia Commons

Light has always been a symbol of what is positive in our world of experience – of life and joy, of truth and justice, of knowledge and wisdom. The celebration of light, even its worship, thus became a part of the great religious traditions of mankind.

‘Divali’or Diwali is a celebration of light in the Indian tradition. Divali – also known as “Deepa-vali” means a row of lights (‘Deepa’ means light and ‘avali’ means a row).

This is the most important of all Indian holidays and falls in October or November depending on the Hindu calendar. ‘Divali’ signifies the victory of good over evil, justice over injustice, truth over untruth. An important God in Hindu mythology, Lord Rama, came back to his kingdom after defeating the demons. His subjects placed oil lamps in doors, in windows, on the terraces of their dwellings, to celebrate his victory, and to welcome him home and light his path.

To this day, as a celebration of this age old tradition, all over India each and every building is lit up with rows of earthenware oil lamps. It is a time for rejoicing, fun and frolic. People decorate their homes, buy new clothes, make festive food – lots of desserts and sweets, and get together with family and friends wishing each other a Happy Divali and a Happy New Year. Fireworks also light up the sky on the night of Divali. These celebrations continue for one to two weeks and schools are closed for that period in India.

Diwali falls on November 11th this year.Happy Divali to all our Indian friends.

– Text by Ragini Goel
Member, Morris County Human Relations Commission