DEEPAVALI THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS Prashant Mehta
WHAT DOES DEEPAVALI MEAN? <ul><li>Deepavali or Diwali is the Indian Festival of lights. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Deepa’ means lamp/light and ‘vali’ means ‘string of’. </li></ul><ul><li>It is one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated with pomp and splendour all over India and in many other parts of the world </li></ul>
WHY ISN'T DIWALI CELEBRATED ON THE SAME DATE EACH YEAR? The Hindu calendar is based on the lunar cycle and the movement of the moon, unlike the conventional Western (or Gregorian) calendar. The result is that Hindu festivals move about the Western calendar from year to year. Diwali, for example falls on the date of the new moon between the Hindu months of Asvina and Kartika, usually this is in October or November.
WHAT IS THE STORY OF KING RAMA? <ul><li>After fourteen years of exile in the forest, the King of Ayodhya, Rama, and his brother Laksman, returned to their hometown. </li></ul><ul><li>Before that, they defeated Ravana in a fierce war. Ravana had captured Rama’s wife, Sita. </li></ul><ul><li>Upon Rama's return to Ayodhya the people of the town lit lamps to welcome the King back and to celebrate the victory over Ravana. </li></ul><ul><li>Overjoyed at Queen Sita's rescue and the safe return of King Rama, the people danced and celebrated and fired fireworks to show how happy they were. These festivities continue every year at Diwali and are still celebrated today. </li></ul>
THE CORONATION OF PRINCE RAMA After defeating Ravana and returning to his hometown he was then made the king.
CELEBRATIONS <ul><li>Homes are thoroughly cleaned, windows are opened and diyas are lit as a greeting to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. </li></ul><ul><li>In urban areas candles are often substituted for diyas. During Diwali, gifts are exchanged and festive meals are prepared. </li></ul><ul><li>The celebration means as much to Hindus as Christmas does to Christians. Because there are many regions in India, there are many different versions of the Diwali festival. </li></ul><ul><li>The celebration of Diwali is often accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. </li></ul>
LAKSHMI POOJA <ul><li>The day begins with Laxmi puja in which the Goddess Lakshmi is thanked for all that she has given in the year gone by. </li></ul><ul><li>For people with their own businesses, doing a puja in the office is a must as it is considered lucky and auspicious. </li></ul><ul><li>After puja, friends and relatives visit to give presents. </li></ul><ul><li>Many families do a puja in the evening as well. This is followed by a display of fireworks and a dinner. </li></ul><ul><li>It is an evening where families gather together and celebrate. </li></ul>
HOW IS DIWALI CELEBRATED <ul><li>Diwali is a five day celebration. </li></ul><ul><li>The celebration is often referred to as “The Festival of Lights” because of the common practice of lighting small oil lamps (called diyas) and placing them around the home, in courtyards, in gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. </li></ul><ul><li>During this festival we exchange gifts and sweets with our relatives. We also burst a lot of crackers and celebrate Diwali with great pomp and show. </li></ul>
FIVE DAYS OF FESTIVITIES <ul><li>The first day is called Dhan Theras. People buy jewellery and worship it to God. </li></ul><ul><li>The second day is called Narka Chaturdashi. It marks the death of the tyrant king “Narakusara” who imprisoned many sons and daughters of the Gods. </li></ul><ul><li>The third day is most important and is called Lakshmi-Puja. We worship Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of good luck, wealth and fortune). Those who have a business do the Puja in office as it is considered lucky and auspicious. </li></ul><ul><li>The fourth day is called Padwa. It is looked as the most auspicious time to start any venture. </li></ul><ul><li>The fifth day is called Bhaiya Dooj. It is customary for men to visit their sisters' homes where the sister puts a sacred mark on her brother's forehead and prays for his long life and prosperity. The brothers give their sisters money and presents in return. </li></ul>