Happy Diwali Season!
Sarina Shah Grady posted a great article on MacaroniKid.com that explains this momentous holiday for those of you that are unfamiliar. Here is an excerpt:
For millions of Indians around the world, the transition into the fall season brings the excitement of preparing for Diwali, the most significant holiday in Indian culture.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali celebrates the Indian new year and falls in either October or November, depending on the Hindu Lunar Calendar. It traditionally spans over 5 days, but many families will gather on day three as that is when the major festivities take place.
In 2021 the main date of celebrations take place Thursday, Nov. 4.
The name Diwali originates from the Sanskrit word dipavali, meaning row of lights. On Nov. 4, those celebrating will light candles and clay lamps called diyas, placing them all around their homes and in the streets to light up the dark night.
Lighting these candles and diyas is a way to honor new beginnings, light over darkness, and good over evil. This is especially relevant this year as families pray for the eradication of COVID-19 in the new year.
Every region in India has its own customs and traditions to observe Diwali, but some common traditions include gathering with family and friends, sharing an abundance of food and sweets in an extravagant feast, lighting fireworks, and buying new clothes and gifts for loved ones.
Serving others is also an important part of the holiday, and families often make charitable contributions or help those in need.
Homes are also cleaned and decorated, not only with candles and diyas, but also with rangolis, beautiful designs made of colored rice and flowers on the floor of the home.
While one might normally see large gatherings and street festivals all over India, Diwali celebrations might look a little different this year due to the pandemic. However, with a little creativity, the celebrations can still take place! For example, some temples are offering online prayer sessions, friends and family will meet virtually and those able to meet in small gatherings will certainly not miss out on doing so to observe this joyous holiday.
Wishing all lots of prosperity and happiness this Diwali season, the Indian Festival of Lights!