This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious or spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

This week celebrates the holiday of Diwali.

Happy Diwali!

Context

The Indian festival Diwali (also called Divali and Deepavali) is translated into the Sanskrit definition of “row of lamps” and is often referred to as the Festival of Lights.  Diwali, the five-day festival celebrated on one of the darkest night of the year, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and is one of the most important festivals of the year.  An official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji, Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world.  Diwali begins on 13 November. 

Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year, commemorating spiritual peace, familial relationships, and hoping for good things to come in the next year.

Significance

Diwali is celebrated by Hindu’s as the return of the Lord Rama from a 14 year exile.  In celebration of his return, people light small lamps to light his way home after he defeated the evil of Ravana and his armies.

Janism observes Diwali as the attainment of nirvana by Lord Mahavira, a spiritual leader who valued meditation, the respect of all living things, and giving up earthly comforts for the sake of spiritual peace.

Sikhs also celebrate Diwali as the mark of Chhorh Divis, when their sixth guru Guru Hargobind Ji, released 52 Hindi kings from prison.

The spiritual significance of Diwali asserts the Hindu philosophy of good over evil, that humans have “the awareness of the inner light” that brings joy and peace.

Rituals/Traditions

  1. Lighting innumerable small lamps, candles, and lights
  2. Visiting family
  3. Fireworks
  4. Wearing new clothes
  5. Exchanging special sweets with neighbors
  6. Going to the temples as a family
  7. Decorating homes with flowers, colored sand, and lots of lights
Additional Resources

President Obama is the first president to officially observe the holiday of Diwali.  Take a look at his Presidential address wishing people a Happy Diwali.  Presidential Happy Diwali

This is a short animated video that illustrates the story of Lord Rama and his victory of light over darkness.  Lord Rama – Defeat of good over evil

National Geographic shows footage of beautiful sights in India during Diwali celebrations.

National Geographic Diwali

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rama

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/diwali-2012-festival-of-lights-photos_n_2115208.html

http://www.diwali2012.in/

 

 

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