Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Deepawali

Happy Deepawali ..., originally uploaded by wanderlust1979.

The author adds:
Deepawali, or Diwali is a major Indian festival, and a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Many legends are associated with Diwali. Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Lights," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being. Diwali is celebrated on the first day of the lunar Kartika month, which comes in the month of October or November.
In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest, after he defeated the evil Ravana. The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (awali) of lamps (deepa), thus its name: Deepawali. This word, in due course, became Diwali in Hindi. But, in South Indian languages, the word did not undergo any change, and hence the festival is called Deepawali in southern India. There are many different observances of the holiday across India.
Jainism marks Diwali as the nirvana of Lord Mahavira, which occurred on October 15, 527 BC.
Among the Sikhs, Diwali came to have special significance from the day the town of Amritsar was illuminated on the return to it of Guru Hargobind (1595-1644) who had been held captive in the Fort at Gwalior under the orders of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir (1570-1627). As the sixth Guru (teacher) of Sikhism, Guru Hargobind Ji, was freed from imprisonment - along with 53 Hindu Kings (who were held as political prisoners) whom the Guru had arranged to be released as well. After his release he went to the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in the holy city of Amritsar, where he was welcomed in happiness by the people who lit candles and diyas to greet the Guru. Because of this, Sikhs often refer to Diwali also as Bandi Chhorh Divas - “the day of release of detainees."
The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists of Nepal, particularly the Newar Buddhists.
In India, Diwali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith

Uploaded by wanderlust1979 on 27 Oct 08, 8.03AM PDT.

No comments: