Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Winter Traditions and Holidays Part 2

The Rangoli of Lights.jpgDiwali

Observed by
Five days between mid-October and mid-November

  • The Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere).
  • Text Box: Rangoli decorations, made using coloured powderOne of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
  • Celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings.
  • The night Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices.
  • On Diwali night (last of the five days), people dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home and participate in family prayers.
  • Fireworks follow with a family feast including and an exchange of gifts.
  • In the same period
    • Jains celebrate a festival also called Diwali to mark the attainment of enlightenment by Mahavira (an important teacher)
    • Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind (the sixth of the Sikh gurus) from a Mughal Empire prison.
  • Diwali dates back to ancient times in India, as a festival after the summer harvest
  • Children are told ancient stories, legends about battles between good and evil.
  • Deepavali is celebrated around the world, particularly in countries with significant populations of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh origin.  Specifics of the celebrations vary across regions and countries.

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