Sunday, March 30, 2008

Deepawali :: Indian Festivals

Deepawali is a festival of lights symbolizing the lifting of spiritual darkness. It is a family festival which is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra. Continuing the story of Rama, this festival commemorates his return to Ayodhya after completion of his fourteen year exile and after his victory over the evil king Ravana. Twinkling oil lamps or diyas light up every home and firework displays are common all across the country. The goddess Lakshmi (consort of Vishnu) who is the symbol of wealth and prosperity is also worshipped on this day. This festive occasion also marks the beginning of the Hindu new year and Lord Ganesha, the elephant god, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on the Deepawali day.

The occasion of Deepawali sees the spring-cleaning and white-washing of houses and decorative designs or rangolis are painted on floors and walls. New clothes are bought and family members and relatives gather together to offer prayers, distribute sweets and to light up their homes.

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