The significance of Diwali — the Festival of Lights

2018-11-13 06:01
PHOTO: suppliedEliana Naicker and the management and staff of the Hillcrest Fever wish all those celebrating a Happy Diwali.

PHOTO: suppliedEliana Naicker and the management and staff of the Hillcrest Fever wish all those celebrating a Happy Diwali.

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FOLLOWERS of Hindu faith around the world will be commemorating a day of colour and light as they will be celebrating Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights.

A five-day festival in India, Diwali is observed over two days in South Africa, this year being November 6 and November 7, but only one of the two days is usually allocated by the South African Hindu Maha Sabha as the day to officially celebrate the festival.

The word “Diwali” (or Deepavali) means row of lights in the ancient language known as Sanskrit, and this festival denotes the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

The celebration mainly goes hand in hand with the Indian lore known as the Ramayana, whereby Diwali coincides with the moonless night in which the exiled King of Ayodhya, Rama, returned home with his companions after defeating the evil Ravana.

Leading up the celebration, Hindu devotees thoroughly clean out their homes and offices, and sometimes decorate the floor by the entrance of their homes with colourful patterns known as rangoli. This is done to welcome deities into their home and also to bring good luck.

On the night of the celebration, temples, homes, shops and buildings are illuminated with bright lights. Diyas (lamps and candles) are lit with prayers offered to Lakshmi (goddess of prosperity). Devotees also partake in family feasts and distribute sweets and gifts. Hindus also celebrate by lighting fireworks in order to illuminate the night sky.

Celebrated annually, Diwali, which also marks the start of the New Year for some Hindu denominations, usually takes place between the period of mid-October and mid-November, and the ever changing date is pre-determined by the position of the moon.

The Hillcrest Fever would like to wish all its Hindu readers a blessed Diwali.

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