Popularly known as the “Festival of Lights,” Deepavali (Divali) is one of the most vibrant festivals celebrated all over the world by most Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. The five days of Divali encompass the darkest day between the lunar months of Ashvin and Kartik, running this year from Saturday, Oct. 22, to Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Derived from Sanskrit, Deepavali means row (avali) of lights (deepa). Lamps set ablaze to celebrate the light of higher knowledge driving out ignorance, the victory of light over darkness – cultivating an enlightenment within us, with which comes compassion, joy and peace.
On the first day, homes are cleaned and something new is bought for the home. On the second day, entrances are adorned with intricate designs called rangolis and homes are decorated with lights, lanterns and lamps.
The fragrance of delicate flower garlands ushers in the dawn on the third and focal Divali day – which this year is Monday, Oct. 24. While the legends and the festivities associated vary from region to region, families and friends gather to worship, rejoice, and celebrate with flowers, delectable food, festive fireworks, decorative lights and twinkling lamps. Millions of glittering lamps illuminate hearts and the dark new moon night alike.
The day after Divali for many communities is the first day of the New Year, when businesses mark the new fiscal year – friends and relatives visit with gifts. The last day of Divali commemorates the special relationship between brothers and sisters.
As the fall ushers in beautiful spiritual and cultural festivities, let us remember to be grateful for the blessings in our lives, to allow good and truth to prevail, to transform our cannon balls into a force for good, to cultivate an omnipresent awareness of our inner light, and to share it with others.
May the divine light of Divali illuminate your days with blessings, joy, good health, peace and love, this week, and in the year ahead!
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