Dis­tance Learn­ing :hat’s Di­wali )es­ti­val

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Di­wali, or Di­pawali, is In­dia’s big­gest and most im­por­tant hol­i­day of the year. The fes­ti­val gets its name from the row (avali)of clay lamps (deepa) that In­di­ans light out­side their homes to sym­bol­ize the in­ner light that pro­tects us from spir­i­tual dark­ness. This fes­ti­val is as im­por­tant to Hin­dus as the Christ­mas hol­i­day is to Chris­tians. Di­wali, cel­e­brated in Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber each year, this year it will be on 1oYePEer . orig­i­nated as a har­vest fes­ti­val that marked the last har­vest of the year be­fore win­ter. In­dia was an agricultural so­ci­ety where peo­ple would seek the divine bless­ing of Lak­shmi, the god­dess of wealth, as they closed their ac­count­ing books and prayed for suc­cess at the out­set of a new fi­nan­cial year. To­day this prac­tice ex­tends to busi­nesses all over the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent, which mark the day af­ter Di­wali as the first day of the new fi­nan­cial year. In­di­ans cel­e­brate with fam­ily gath­er­ings, glit­ter­ing clay lamps, fes­tive fire­works, strings of elec­tric lights, bon­fires, flow­ers, shar­ing of sweets, and wor­ship to Lak­shmi. Some be­lieve that Lak­shmi wan­ders the Earth look­ing for homes where she will be wel­comed. l d Peo­ple l open their hid doors and d wini dows and light lamps to in­vite Lak­shmi in. Over the cen­turies, Di­wali has be­come a na­tional fes­ti­val that is en­joyed by most In­di­ans re­gard­less of faith Hin­dus, Jains, Bud­dhists, and Sikhs. Hin­dus in­ter­pret the Di­wali story based upon where they live •In north­ern In­dia they cel­e­brate the story of King Rama’s re­turn to $yo­d­hya af­ter he de­feated Ra­vana by light­ing rows of clay l lamps. •South­ern In­dia cel­e­brates it as the day that Lord Kr­ishna de­feated the de­mon Naraka­sura. •In western In­dia the fes­ti­val marks the day that Lord 9ishnu, the Pre­server (one of the main gods of the Hindu trin­ity) sent the de­mon King Bali to rule the nether world. In all in­ter­pre­ta­tions, one com­mon thread rings true—the fes­ti­val marks the vic­tory of good over evil. No Non-Hindu com­mu­ni­ties have other reaso sons for celebrating the hol­i­day •In Jain­ism, it marks the nir­vana or spir­i­tual aw awak­en­ing of Lord Ma­havira on Oc­to­ber , 2 B. B.C. •In Sikhism it marks the day that Guru Ha Har­gob­ind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru was fre freed from im­pris­on­ment. • •Five F Days of Di­wali •On •O the first day of Di­wali, peo­ple con­sider it aus­pi­cious to spring clean the home and shop sh for gold or kitchen uten­sils. •On •O the sec­ond day, peo­ple dec­o­rate their homes ho with clay lamps and cre­ate de­sign pat­terns pa called ran­goli on the floor us­ing col­ored co pow­ders or sand. •The •T third day is the main day of the fes­ti­val when fam­i­lies gather to­gether for Lak­shmi puja, a prayer to God­dess Lak­shmi fol­lowed by mouth-wa­ter­ing feasts and fire­work fes­tiv­i­ties. •The fourth day is the first day of the new year when friends and rel­a­tives visit with gifts and best wishes for the sea­son. •On the last day of Di­wali, broth­ers visit their mar­ried sis­ters who wel­come them with love and a lav­ish meal. http kids.na­tion­al­geo­graphic.com

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