Join us in Denver Nov 1-2 for the Diwali Festival of Lights Celebration at BharArt Studio! Friday night: 7-10pm, Saturday 3-8pm. Come and watch the creation of Rantoli floral decoration on the floors and doors, candle-light yoga, Bharatnatyam & Kuchipudi, lighting arrangement of Dyas and candle lights, delicious Indian food stalls, Bollywood Dance party with a live DJ, and tons of fun!
What is Diwali?
Deepawali or Diwali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It’s the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that’s marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.
In October or November, depending on the cycle of the moon. In 2013, Diwali starts with Dhanteras on November 1. The main festivities take place on the third day (this year, on November 3), while the the fourth day is celebrated as new year’s day. Merchants open fresh accounts for the new year, and offer prayers. On the fifth and last day, brothers and sisters get together and share food, to honor the bond between them.
On the third day (this year, on November 3rd) lots of small clay lamps (called diyas) and candles are lit and placed in houses, and fireworks are let off everywhere, giving Diwali its name of “Festival of Lights”. People also clean and decorate their homes with Rangoli (Hindu art that people decorate their floors and pavement on yards with), buy new clothes, gamble, and give each other gifts and sweets during the festival.
The rituals vary according to region. However, special blessings are given to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Goddess Lakshmi means Good Luck to Hindus. The word ‘Lakshmi’ is derived from the Sanskrit word “Laksya”, meaning ‘aim’ or ‘goal’, and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Lakshmi is believed to have been created from the churning of the ocean on the main Diwali day, and that she’ll visit every home during the Diwali period, bringing with her prosperity and good fortune. It’s said that she visits the cleanest houses first, therefore people make sure their houses are spotless before lighting lamps to invite her in.
All the simple rituals of Diwali have a significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rains.