Happy Diwali! The Festival Of Lights

 

Photo of a Diya, courtesy of Chobist.

Diwali is a the festival of lights where people give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen 'diyas' (lamps) and decorating their homes. It's a celebratory time where friends and family are invited to eat   and share sumptuous feasts. Everyone is encouraged to love and share, forget past grievances and renew their relationships with fresh sincerity.

Guru HarGobind. Image from SikhiWiki.com

Diwali represents one thing to Sikhs and another to Hindus. For Sikhs, Diwali is a time to celebrate religious freedoms as well as freedom of knowledge. Diyas are lit to signify the return of Guru Hargobind from Mogul (sometimes spelled Mughal)  imprisonment. It is a time to remember how the flickering   light is similar to the fragile nature of all that is held dear.

Sand painting, photo courtesy of Katrina Markel.

Similarly, for  most cultures darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge.  For Hindus, "lighting a lamp symbolizes the destruction, through knowledge, of all negative forces - wickedness, violence, lust, anger, envy, greed, bigotry, fear, injustice, oppression and suffering, etc."

 

Paper lanterns for Diwali, photo courtesy of Paul Wrider.

 

Young girl with a sparkler on Diwali (in Mumbai), photo courtesy of Paul Wrider.

 

 

Neighborhood fireworks in Mumbai, photo courtesy of Paul Wrider.