What is Diwali? When is Diwali 2016? These are the most common questions that arise with the arrival of Diwali. Modern Diwali in 2016 is all about caring for the environment, nature, and fellow humans.
Diwali is a Hindu festival that is celebrated by lighting lamps and colorful lights, sharing gifts, and reciting prayers. Diwali, the festival of light, is celebrated by countries such as India, Nepal, Malaysia, and Mauritius, among others.
What is Diwali’s Origin?
The most popular reason for celebrating Diwali is the return of Hindu Lord Rama to Ayodhya, his kingdom, after spending 14 years in exile and killing the demon King Ravana. On the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, his subjects lit oil lamps and decorated the entire city with lights.
Diwali also symbolizes the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
By celebrating Diwali, people following the Jain religion celebrate the Nirvana of Lord Mahavir. Followers of Sikh religion celebrate the freedom of Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru of Sikhs, after 15 years of imprisonment.
Diwali In Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra, which was composed sometime between third-century BCE and second-century CE, also mentions Diwali. It was celebrated as Yaksha Ratri, the night of the Yakshas, which is related to goddess of wealth. The festival was not named Diwali yet, but the forms of celebration were similar to present celebrations of Diwali, reports India Today.
So, precisely what is Diwali? There is no single answer to that question. People of different faiths celebrate it according to their own religious interpretation.
Diwali is a five-day long celebration, and people start gearing up for the festivities since the onset of autumn.
The five-day celebrations begin with the festival of wealth, followed by Naraka Chaturdashi on the second day. The third day is celebrated as Diwali. The following day marks the New Year for some communities. The final day of Diwali is celebrated with Bhai Dooj, a day dedicated to the sister-brother relationship.
During Diwali, worshippers pray to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles. Diwali is about being with your loved ones and spending some quality time with family. It is also about letting go any hate and differences.
When Is Diwali 2016?
The date of Diwali changes every year depending on the position of moon and sun. Diwali 2016 will be celebrated on October 30.
Over the years, Diwali has not remained confined to festivities and religious practices. Diwali has become a medium to spread awareness and to generate support for various causes.
For Diwali 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi started #Sandesh2Soldiers, a campaign to send Diwali greetings and messages to soldiers guarding the nation’s frontiers. Thousands of people across India have joined the campaign to send their Diwali greeting to the soldiers. PM Modi will spend his Diwali on the Indo-Tibetan border with ITBP soldiers.
Another campaign started by a Bollywood actress talks about helping others. The campaign #SpreadTheLight is about lighting up someone’s Diwali. It is about helping a stranger or child or supporting a cause.
President Obama elaborated on the fact that Diwali is about helping and uplifting one another.
The Delhi Metro is also running a Campaign called “Cleanliness” in the spirit of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” to inspire the public, especially the youth and children, to keep the city clean. There are student groups and organizations that promote noiseless and pollutionless Diwali.
By supporting such causes, helping the lesser fortunate, and by caring about the environment, people can truly make Diwali a festival of light, as reported by Avenuemail.
Elsewhere in the world, Diwali is not a huge celebration. In the United States, celebrations are quiet due to small Hindu population and stringent laws on fireworks.
Suhag Shukla, the managing director of the Hindu American Foundation, said, “Someday it’s my hope that you’ll say, ‘It’s Diwali,’ and the boss will say, ‘Oh, OK, you’ll take the day off.”
President Barack Obama had hosted the Diwali festivities in 2009 and became the first president to do so.
Shukla said, “It sends a message that Americans of all faiths and of no faith are being acknowledged.”
[Featured Image by India Picture/Shutterstock]