DIWALI – Indian Festival of Lights

By Richa Joshi, Gladstone Multicultural Association Inc.

Diwali, also called Deepavali, known as the “Festival of Lights,” is a major Hindu festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

In North India, Diwali marks the time when the Hindu God Rama achieved victory over the demon Ravana. Celebrations of this event involve lighting lamps and fireworks to symbolize hope and restoration.

Diwali is celebrated for five consecutive days and usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals in India. This year the Diwali festival fell on the 19th of October.

Because it’s such a beautiful celebration everyone, whatever their religious denomination ends up celebrating in one form or the other.

The Five days of Diwali

Diwali is celebrated over five days in India:

  1. Dhan-trayodashi or Dhan teras: Dhan means “wealth” and Trayodashi means “thirteenth day.” Thus, as the name implies, this day falls on the thirteenth day of the first half of the lunar month. It is an auspicious day for shopping .
  2. Naraka Chaturdasi: Narak means ‘of a new era of Light and Knowledge’. Chaturdasi implies fourteenth day .
  3. Diwali: the actual day of Diwali, is celebrated on the third day of the festival, when the moon completely wanes and total darkness sets in the night sky.
  4. Varsha-pratipada or Padwa: Beginning of the New Year
  5. Bhayiduj (also Bhayyaduj, Bhaubeej or Bhayitika) — on this day, brothers and sisters meet to express their love and affection for each other.

We spring clean our homes, we buy new clothes to wear. Huge plans are made to make traditional Indian sweets and savouries, that are not just eaten by the family who makes them, but also given to close family members and friends. The celebration of food continues with special dishes made for meals.

The main festival of Diwali is celebrated by the lighting of oil lamps across all entrances to the home ( thereby providing a lit pathway for the good luck to find its way), fire crackers are burnt with fervour – they ward off the evil because of the light, noise and smell. And of course we meet and greet, and eat with our family and friends.

The Gladstone Indian Cultural Community is celebrating the festival of Diwali on the 11th of November at the Clinton State School. Tickets are available from Delhi Kitchen at the Kirkwood Woolworths Shopping centre and at Dhillonz Hair and Beauty, 5/136 Goondoon Street.