By Hansika Chenna
Seen a lot of houses with beautiful lights up? Heard loud music as you were driving through the street and the sounds of firecrackers and celebration. Wondering what it was? It was Diwali.
The main celebration occurs on amāvasyā (new moon) day and the darkest one in the Hindu lunisolar calendar. On this dark day, families come together and perform worship ceremonies of various gods. They illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes and light fireworks. They spend time together, cook up a feast and celebrate. They celebrate new beginnings and cherish the old victories and memories.
However the most notable celebration that occurs is the lighting of lamps. In Sanskrit (an ancient and classical language of India) Diwali (or Deepavali) means ‘row of lamps’. ‘Deep’ meaning light or a lamp of light and ‘avail’ which means a row or sequence. Hence families light lamps on the day to display that light is more powerful than dark and that good always wins over evil.
The day itself originated from and is celebrated for many reasons such as:
- It being the day Lord Rama triumphantly returned to his kingdom along with his wife Sita and brother Laksmana after killing the evil demon Ravana, symbolising new beginnings and the victory of good over evil.
- It was also the day on which Satyabhama (the divine consort of Lord Krishna) killed Narakasura (an evil demon king), symbolising righteous winning over unrighteous.
- It was also the day on which Lord Krishna as a baby performed the Damodar lila (when he was bound to a wooden grinding mortar by the love of his Mother).
Ultimately, Diwali is a day of joyous gathering and sweet celebrations. It is a day of recollection, gratitude and hope. It is a day that reminds us to be true to ourselves and act righteously. It is a celebration of light.