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09-13-2009, 10:39 AM #1
The famous festival of Hinduism (Diwali)
A row of lamps, part of the Divali observance.
Also called Translation: Row of Lights; Deepavali, Festival of Lights
Observed by Religiously by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Other Indians celebrate the cultural aspects.
Type Religious, India and Nepal
Significance Celebration of the victory of good over evil; the uplifting of spiritual darkness.
Date Decided by the lunar calendar
2009 date 17 October
2010 date 5 November
Celebrations Decorating homes with lights, Fireworks, distributing sweets and gifts.
Observances Prayers, Religious rituals (see puja, prashad)
Dīvali (or Dīpāwali, often written Deepavali) (Hindi: दीपावली, दिवाली; Urdu: دیوالی; Tamil: தீபாவளி; Telugu: దీపావళి) is a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and an official holiday in India. Adherents of these religions celebrate Diwali as the Festival of Lights. They light diyas—cotton string wicks inserted in small clay pots filled with oil—to signify victory of good over the evil within an individual.
As per Hindu calendar, the five day festival of Diwali is centered on the new moon day that ends the month of Ashwin and begins the month of Kartika, beginning on the 13th day of the dark half of Ashwin (Ashwin 28th) and ending on the 2nd day of the bright half of Kartika (Kartika 2nd). The main day of celebration varies regionally.
In Hinduism, across many parts of India and Nepal, it is the homecoming of Rama after a 14-year exile in the forest and his victory over the Ravana.In the legend, the people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (dĭpa), thus its name: dīpāwali. Over time, this word transformed into Divali in Hindi and Dipawali in Nepali, but still retained its original form in South and East Indian Languages.
In Jainism, Divali marks the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira on 15 October, 527 BC.
Divali has been significant in Sikhism since the illumination of the town of Amritsar commemorating the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji (1595-1644), the sixth Guru of Sikhism, who was imprisoned along with 56 other Hindu kings at Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir. After freeing the other prisoners, he went to the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in the holy city of Amritsar, where he was welcomed happily by the people who lit candles and divas to greet the Guru. Because of this, Sikhs often refer to Diwali also as Bandi Chhorh Divas - "the day of release of detainees."
The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists in Nepal, a majority-Hindu country, particularly the Newar Buddhists.
In India and Nepal, Divali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians and Nepalese regardless of faith.
09-13-2009, 05:11 PM #2