Di­wali cel­e­brates new be­gin­nings

Manawatu Guardian - - STEPPING OUT... -

Di­wali or Deep­awali is a four-day fes­ti­val of lights cel­e­brated by mil­lions of Hin­dus, Sikhs and Jains across the world.

The fes­ti­val of lights is said to il­lu­mi­nate the coun­try with its bril­liance and daz­zle peo­ple with its joy.

The fes­ti­val, which co­in­cides with the Hindu New Year, cel­e­brates new be­gin­nings and the tri­umph of good over evil and light over dark­ness.

Hin­dus in­ter­pret the Di­wali story based upon where they live. In north­ern In­dia they cel­e­brate the story of King Rama’s re­turn to Ay­o­d­hya from a 14-year­long ex­ile af­ter he de­feated Ra­vana by light­ing rows of clay lamps. South­ern In­dia cel­e­brates it as the day that Lord Kr­ishna de­feated the de­mon Naraka­sura.

His­tor­i­cally, Di­wali can be traced back to an­cient In­dia and it most likely be­gan as an im­por­tant har­vest fes­ti­val.

Each day of Di­wali has its own tale to tell. The first day of the fes­ti­val, Naraka Chatur­dasi, marks the van­quish­ing of the de­mon Naraka by Lord Kr­ishna and his wife Satyab­hama.

Amavasya, the sec­ond day of Deep­awali, marks the wor­ship of Lak­shmi when she is in her most benev­o­lent mood, ful­fill­ing the wishes of her devo­tees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who, in his dwarf in­car­na­tion, van­quished the tyrant Bali and ban­ished him to hell. Bali is al­lowed to re­turn to Earth once a year to light mil­lions of lamps and dis­pel dark­ness and ig­no­rance while spread­ing the ra­di­ance of love and wis­dom.

It is on the third day of Deep­awali, Kar­tika Shudda Padyami, that Bali steps out of hell and rules the Earth ac­cord­ing to the gift given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is re­ferred to as Yama Dvi­tiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sis­ters in­vite their broth­ers to their homes.


A Palmer­ston North Shree dancer.

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