Diwali 2010 - Hindu Festival
Diwali 2010 is on Friday the 5th November. This Hindu festival of lights is held 15 days after the full moon of Kartik.
Diwali, also called Deepavali or Dipavali, the Hindu festival of lights, is the most popular and special of all Hindu festivals. It is also an occasion for celebration by *Jains and *Sikhs.
The festival of Diwali extends over five days. The date of Diwali is set by the Hindu calendar so it varies in the Western calendar. It usually falls in October or November and because of the lights, fireworks and sweets involved, it's a great favourite with children.
The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India.
*In Jainism people come together over three days and celebrate the Nirvana of Lord Mahavira and welcome in the New Year. Whereas for Sikhs, Diwali celebrates the release of the Guru, Hargobind Ji from imprisonment and people celebrate by lighting the way to the Golden Temple.
The Traditional Five Days of Diwali Include these Special Events
Lakshmi is the consort of the god Vishnu. She is considered to be one of the most popular goddesses of Hindu mythology and is known as the goddess of wealth and purity. Lakshmi is commonly portrayed as a beautiful woman with four arms, standing on a lotus flower. There is usually one, or sometimes two elephants behind her, anointing her with water. She is often depicted sitting beneath Vishnu, massaging his feet.
Hindus believe that anybody who worships Lakshmi sincerely, and not in greed, will be blessed with fortune and success. It is said that Lakshmi resides in places of hard work, virtue and bravery, but leaves whenever these qualities are not apparent any more.
Lakshmi is particularly worshipped during the festival of Diwali.
2010 5th November, Friday
Hindus calculate the the date of Diwali as 15 days from the full moon of Kartik. Thus Diwali falls on the amavasya or the no moon day. Incidentally, this is 20 days after Dussehra (Vijaya Dashmi).
Diwali (also spelt Divali in other countries) or Dīpāvali (Tamil: தீபாவளி, Gujarati: દિવાળી, Hindi: दिवाली, Kannada: ದೀಪಾವಳಿ, Konkani: धाकली दिवाळी, Malayalam: ദീപാവലി, Marathi: दिवाळी, Nepali: दिपावली, Oriya: ଦୀପାବଳୀ, Sanskrit: दीपावली, Telugu: దీపావళి, Urdu: دیوالی), also popularly known as the Festival of Lights, is an important 5-day festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali is an official holiday in India , Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Fiji.
The name Diwali is itself a contraction of the word Dīpāvali दीपावली (Dīpāvali), which translates into row of lamps (din Sanskrit). Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (divas) (or Deep in Sanskrit: दीप) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with others. Some Indian business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali wishing for good luck the following year.
In Hinduism, Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating (the demon king) Ravana, the ruler of Lanka in the epic Ramayana. It also celebrates the slaying of the demon king Narakasura by Lord Krishna. Both signify the victory of good over evil. In Jainism, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha by Mahavira in 527 BC. In Sikhism, Diwali commemorates the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji to Amritsar after freeing 52 Hindu kings imprisoned in Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir; the people lit candles and divas to celebrate his return, which is why Sikhs also refer to Diwali as Bandi Chhorh Divas, "the day of release of detainees". Diwali is considered a national festival in India and Nepal.
In Britain, as in India, the festival of lights is a time for thoroughly spring-cleaning the home, wearing new clothes and most importantly, decorating buildings with fancy lights. The English city of Leicester is noted particularly for its Diwali celebrations.
Diwali Lanterns photographed in Trafalgar Square, London, England
Popular Diwali Stories for this Special Occasion
The Killing of the Demon Ravana
Ravana, who had ten arms and ten heads, was the wicked king of the island
of Sri Lanka, who kidnapped the wife of Rama. Rama had been in exile for 14
years because of a disagreement as to whether he or his brother should be
the next king in Ayodhya.
The Legend of King Bali
Another enjoyable legend is that of King Bali of the underworld; his mighty power had become a threat to the gods who were gravely concerned.
In order to curb his powers Lord Vishnu in the guise of a "Batu Waman", a small boy, visited him and begged him to give him only that much land which he could cover with his three steps.
Known for his philanthropy, King Bali proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that small boy transformed himself into the all-powerful Lord Vishnu.
With his first step Lord Vishnu covered the entire heaven and with the second step the earth and asked Bali where to keep his third step. Bali offered his head. Putting his foot on his head Vishnu pushed him down to the underworld.
At the same time for his generosity, Lord Vishnu gave him the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps to dispel darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.
The Funny Flight
Madhul was flying home to see her family to celebrate Diwali with them. Fifteen minutes into the flight from Bombay to Delhi, the captain announced, 'Ladies and gentlemen, one of our engines has failed. There is nothing to worry about. Our flight will take an hour longer than scheduled, but we still have three engines left.'
Thirty minutes later the captain announced, 'One more engine has failed and the flight will take an additional two hours. But don't worry . . .we can fly just fine on two engines.'
An hour later the captain announced, 'One more engine has failed and our arrival will be delayed another hour. But don't worry... we still have one engine left.'
Madhul, turned to the man in the next seat and sighed and she said, 'If we lose one more engine, we'll be up here all day.'
Will and Guy Wish You A Happy Diwali
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