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Diwali and Fireworks 2012

It is almost upon us again – DIWALI 2012

Diwali is the most important holiday in India and celebrated by millions of people around the world. Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’ or ‘Deepavali’ (in Southern India) it is a celebration of Good over Evil and Light over Darkness.

Diwali is a major religious festival for Sikhs, Hindu’s and Jain’s all over the world nowadays and not just in India. The festival takes place over a 5-day period during October or November every year just as the monsoon season ends. The date varies every year according to the Hindu Luni-Solar calendar, according to the positions of the sun and moon. The day of Diwali falls on Ashvina Amavasya which is the first Lunar day of the New Moon and kicks off the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Many Indian businesses also use Diwali to signify the start of the new tax Year.

Over the 5-day celebration of Diwali prayer and thanks are offered up for prosperity and wealth, freedom from evil, beauty, wealth and wisdom. At night, Diyas or Dipa Lights will be lit and homes decorated with lanterns and fairy lights. Many people will also have fireworks displays after sun-down to share their celebrations with family and friends. Also, some Sikh Temples will also hold their own firework displays and Diwali parties for those who gather to pray.

The fourth day of the event, known as Govardhan Puja, is the main food day. It is said that Krishna defeated the god of rain by lifting Mount Govardhana to save his people from the floods. This is reflected in the ‘food mountains’ which are there to signify his triumph over evil.

The fifth and last day of Diwali is for siblings. On this day brothers buy gifts for their sisters and in return, the sisters pray for their brother’s well being.

Throughout the holiday period, families gather to eat lots of food and sweets and to send greetings cards (like Christmas cards in the Christian faith).

There are 30 million Indian’s living outside of India nowadays thanks to re-location, migration and students leaving to attend University. We are all much more aware of the other religious celebrations taking place from all cultures today and should, therefore, take the opportunity to join them in their celebrations.

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