The Shepparton Interfaith Network says “Happy Diwali” to all Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists – and all others who are celebrating this festival of light in the Goulburn Valley, today, 7 November 2018.
Diwali is a five-day festival in many regions of India, with Diwali night centering on the new moon – the darkest night – at the end of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin and the start of the month of Kartika. In the Common Era calendar, Diwali typically falls towards the end of October, or first half of November each year. The darkest night of autumn lit with diyas or deepams (small light vessels), candles and lanterns, makes the festival of lights particularly memorable. Diwali is also a festival of sounds and sights with fireworks and rangoli designs; the festival is a major celebration of flavors with feasts and numerous mithai (sweets, desserts), as well as a festival of emotions where Diwali ritually brings family and friends together every year.
Significance of Diwali in India:
- Diwali lamps signify the removal of spiritual darkness and the ushering in of knowledge capable of realizing Brahman (That) – the Supreme Being present in all animate and inanimate.
- There are several reasons for celebrating Diwali. The most important one is the commemoration of the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
- Lakshmi Puja during Diwali is observed as it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean on this day during the ‘samudra manthan’ (churning of ocean) by demons and gods as mentioned in the Puranas. So for the business people, the new business year begins on Diwali.
- In South India, Diwali is the day in which Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura.
- In Gujarat, the day after Diwali is observed as Annakut – New Year’s Day.
- Dhanteras is celebrated two days before Diwali honors Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods. He is believed to have emerged from the ocean on this day during samudra manthan.
- In Orissa, the lights are lit to show the path to the spirits of ancestors returning to heaven.
- In Bengal, Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja. It is believed that Goddess Kali killed the demon Raktabija on this day.
CHANDIGARH, INDIA – NOVEMBER 10: People of city made portrait of Lord Buddha by lighting of approximate 4500 earthen lamps to spread peace and harmony on the eve of Diwali at Plaza sector 17 on November 10, 2015 in Chandigarh, India. Festival of light Diwali is one of the most important festival of India celebrated with lighting of diyas, bursting of crackers and exchange of sweets and gifts. Lord Ganesha and Godess Lakshmi were worshipped as symbol of wealth and prosperity. (Photo by Sanjeev Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
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