Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Just got to know another public holiday: Deepavali (or Diwali in India?). Call me ignorant, but this year is the first year I'm in a country that celebrates Deepavali. As long as it's a day off, I'm good.

From wikipedia:

Diwali, also called Deepavali is a major Hindu festival that is very significant in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. Known as the "Festival of Lights," it symbolises the victory of good over evil, and lamps are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for mankind. Celebrations focus on lights and lamps, particularly traditional diyas (as illustrated). Fireworks are associated with the festival.

Diwali is the name used by North Indians for the festivals while South Indians call it Deepavali. However, both names literally translated mean the same, which is "row of lights".

Diwali is celebrated for five consecutive days at the end of Hindu month of Ashwayuja. It usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals in India. Diwali comes exactly twenty days after Dussehra. Hindus, and Sikhs alike regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and social relationships. For Hindus it is one of the most important festivals, and beginning of the Hindu year. Hindus celebrate Diwali to mark the time when Lord Rama achieved victory beating Ravana. It is also a significant festival for the Sikh faith. In modern India, Diwali is now considered to be more of a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith.