One of the most important holidays on the Hindu calendar, Diwali is known as the festival of lights. The name “Diwali” or “Divali” comes from the word ‘deepavali’ which translates as: “row of lamps”. ‘Diyas’ (small clay lamps) and candles are lit for the multi-day holiday as a symbolic gesture of the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness, or the triumph of good over evil.
Families meticulously clean their houses and light candles and lamps in hopes of guiding Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth into their homes. Dancing, candies and sweets, and get-togethers with family and friends are all important aspects of this special occasion. Many public events and celebrations take place in the countries where it is an official holiday, as well as many other larger city centers throughout the world.
Rangolis, as seen in the photo above, are like sacred welcome mats for the Hindu deities. Passed down from generation to generation, the patterns and symbols of the rangolis are typically created with coloured rice, flower petals, lentils, and sand. Apart from being beautiful decorations, rangolis are considered to be very good luck.
*If you can’t make it to a country where Diwali is officially celebrated (India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Nepal, among others), many cities and areas with a large Hindu population have events, workshops and celebrations.
I went to the Diwali Fest in Vancouver, Canada a couple of years ago.
It was fantastic and if you are in Vancouver you should definitely check it out. It runs Oct 17-26th, 2014. There are a variety of things to do and see: concerts, dance performances, rangoli displays, henna art…the list goes on.
If anyone else knows of any Diwali events going on in their city, please comment below and let everyone know about it!