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What is Diwali, the Festival of Lights, and how is it celebrated in India and the diaspora?

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Diwali is an important pageant of the 12 months in India — and for Hindus specifically.

It’s celebrated throughout faiths by greater than a billion individuals on this planet’s most populous nation and the diaspora. Over 5 days, individuals participate in festive gatherings, fireworks shows, feasts and prayer.

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Diwali is derived from the phrase “Deepavali,” which suggests “a row of lights.” Celebrants gentle rows of conventional clay oil lamps outdoors their houses to represent the victory of sunshine over darkness and information over ignorance.

WHEN IS DIWALI?

The dates of the pageant are primarily based on the Hindu lunar calendar, sometimes falling in late October or early November.

This 12 months, Diwali begins Nov. 10 and the pageant can be noticed on Nov. 12.

WHAT ARE SOME HINDU STORIES OF DIWALI?

Whereas Diwali is a significant spiritual pageant for Hindus, it is usually noticed by Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. The origin story of Diwali varies relying on the area. All these tales have one underlying theme — the victory of excellent over evil.

In southern India, Diwali celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna’s destruction of the demon Naraka who is claimed to have imprisoned ladies and tormented his topics. In northern India, Diwali honors the triumphant return of Lord Rama, his spouse Sita, and brother Lakshmana, from a 14-year exile within the forest.

HOW IS DIWALI CELEBRATED?

The pageant brings with it numerous distinctive traditions, which additionally fluctuate by the area. What all celebrations have in frequent are the lights, fireworks, feasting, new garments and praying.

—In southern India, many have an early morning heat oil bathtub to represent bathing within the holy River Ganges as a type of bodily and religious purification.

—Within the north, worshipping the Goddess Lakshmi, who symbolizes wealth and prosperity, is the norm.

Playing is a well-liked custom due to the assumption whoever gambled on Diwali evening would prosper all year long. Many individuals purchase gold on the primary day of Diwali, often known as Dhanteras — an act they consider will deliver them good luck.

Setting off firecrackers is a cherished custom, as is exchanging sweets and presents amongst family and friends. Diwali celebrations sometimes function rangoli, that are geometric, floral patterns drawn on the ground utilizing colourful powders.

WHAT ARE THE DIWALI STORIES FROM OTHER FAITHS?

Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs have their very own Diwali tales:

—Jains observe Diwali because the day the Lord Mahavira, the final of the nice academics, attained nirvana, which is liberation from the cycle of beginning, dying and rebirth.

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—Sikhs have a good time Bandi Chhor Divas — a day that overlaps with Diwali — to commemorate the discharge of Guru Hargobind, a revered determine within the religion, who had been imprisoned for 12 years by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.

—Buddhists observe the day as one when the Hindu Emperor Ashoka, who dominated within the third century B.C., transformed to Buddhism.

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