The Indian Festival of Lights is the most widely celebrated festival for Hindu’s around the world.
Deepavali, also known as Diwali means rows of lights, it is the festival symbolising victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.
For those of you that are reading this and do not know what the festival is about, here is why and what and how… as well as a bit about our celebration
This year, we celebrated Diwali this week 13 November, and although I worked on the day, we had a great evening with the kids…
The Legend behind Diwali (just a bit of background)
Legend has it that Narakasura, the king of demons, tortured the commoners. After many years of hardship, the people, unable to bear the suffering, appealed to Lord Krishna who then declared war against the demon king. As he lay dying, the demon king begged for mercy from Lord Krishna and he asked that the people rejoice and be merry at the anniversary of his death as a reminder that ultimately evil will never triumph. Little clay lamps were then lighted as a sign of gratitude to Lord Krishna.
Some Hindus believe that Deepavali is celebrated to mark the return of Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana after being banished from Ayodhya by his stepmother for a 14 years.
Either belief, the festival is not a Hindu new year or Christmas but a celebration of good over evil.
The Preparations (This is when the excitement and fattening part starts)
Preparations start weeks before. Kitchens are used much more than any other time of the year, as cakes, sweetmeats and other tidbits are prepared to commemorate this festival. Hindus also believe that departed souls return during this time.
This year I painstakingly assisted my gran in making all my favourite sweetmeats. And they are soooo moreish and not to mention fattening. Most of the sweetmeats prepared for this day have loads of sugar and condensed milk. Guess once a year is not so bad to binge this way right?..
These are my favourites ….
On the Day
As a tradition and the not so very exciting part of the morning, we all have the traditional oil bath. The body is rubbed and massaged from head to toe with 3 kinds of oil. We then start getting ready for the prayer before the festivities and excitement starts. The day is then filled with either visiting friends or receiving them. (Sadly we missed this bit as I had to work) All the baked goodies are carefully and lovingly made into parcels (as we call it) and given to friends, family and neighbours. Meals are prepared and enjoyed with the family who are now eagerly waiting the evening for the best part of the day… the Fireworks. I love this part of the celebration as I relive my childhood of lighting sparkles and fireworks. But before this can start, a path to the home is alight with beautiful clay lamps. The beauty of this is beyond words.
Then the fun begins!!!
I hope that all my readers that celebrate this colourful and beautiful festival had a lovely day with family and friends. May your path in life always be filled with light!!!