Diwali

Yolanda Monteiro By Yolanda Monteiro, 1st Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Religion>Hinduism

A short explanation of how the festival is celebrated.

Sweet memories

When I was growing up, I lived in a ccmplex that was dominated by Hindu families. My very immediate neighbour was a Hindu and so were most of my friends. I being Catholic celebrated Christmas and Easter and they shared in my celebrations with me. In the same way, I too joined in their festivities and had my share of fun. Diwali means 'Festival of Lights'. In Mumbai, India, Diwali means loads of great tasting sweets which in Hindi is called "Mithai". I enjoyed eating all the different kinds of 'barfis' (a sweet made with milk and a lot of sugar and in some varieties with nuts as well. These also came in different flavours Iike, 'chocolate', ' pistachio', 'coconut' and 'vanilla' to name a few. Then there was also the 'pedhas' which are also made from milk but are usually round and flavoured as well. Aside from the sweets, there were also a lot of 'Kharis' which are usually deep friend savouries, but more salty than sweet.

I remember we would all gather each evening with our bags of fire crackers and our match boxes. We would spend hours lighting up our sparklers, fountains (which were cone shaped, about an inch of two high and wrapped in beautifully coloured papers. We had to light the tip and it would let out a stream of pretty colours into the evening sky. We lit 'zameen chakras' (discs you light on the ground or road) which were small, circular and coiled up. We had to lay them flat on the floor and had to light the end of it and it would spin around at an amazing speed, giving out coloured sparks at it spun. Diwali is also a festival that can be quite noisy. People, especially boys, enjoyed lighting 'bombs' as they were playfully called. These were just another type of fire cracker, but more than giving out light like the rest did, they also made a very loud noise as they shot into the air and exploded.

It was a real treat to take a walk through the streets after sun down. Most houses would have gorgeous designed latterns in their windows or doorways. The front porch would have 'diyas' or clay and mud lamps filled with oil with a lighted wick. They would, along with the artistic 'rangoli' designs (drawings made using coloured chalk powder), make any entrance look warm and inviting.

The Diwali festival is being celebrated right now in India and other parts of the world. The festival also means having new clothes and cleaning up the home. Businesses begin their business year with the onset of Diwali. The days of celebration also have a special day dedicated to welcoming the Goddess Lakshmi (The Goddess of Wealth) into their homes. On this day, families offer prayers to the Goddess and light lamps and lights around their homes as a sign of welcome to her. In fact they keep their doors open and keep their diyas and lights burning for her.

The festival also has a special day (celebrated 2 days after Diwali) dedicated to the relationship between 'Brothers and Sisters'. Like any other festival, along with the religious aspect, this is also a time for family and friends to meet and share a meal. enjoy and exchange sweets and have a lot of fun. It was really nice to part of the celebrations!!

Tags

Celebration, Festival Of Lights

Meet the author

author avatar Yolanda Monteiro
I have worked a lot with children and teachers and hence I enjoy writing for children.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Good post Yolanda. It resonates with Halloween which also falls same time as they signify the victory of Good over Evil - siva

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author avatar Yolanda Monteiro
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks once again Siva....

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