Festival of Diwali
by Barry Marshall on October 18th
In India, the beginning of the Hindu New Year is celebrated in the festival of Diwali,which operates according to the lunar calendar. Therefore, Diwali in 2009 is due to take place from the 17th October, whereas in 2010 it is scheduled for a 5th November start.
Lasting for five days during the new moon period that ends the month of Ashwin, Diwali is an official public holiday in India and is of great significance to the predominantly Hindu population, although the festival itself is also observed by Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Ultimately, Diwali in Hinduism is a celebration of light over dark, good over evil and the rise beyond spiritual darkness. As such, Diwali in India is often referred to as the Festival of Lights or Deepavali.
In fact, one of the more appropriate references to Diwali in a spiritual sense is that it serves to direct an individual's attention to their so-called 'inner light', which is a central component of the Hindu religion. As with other religious celebrations that aim to usher in a new era, Diwali attempts to draw awareness to this inner light that is capable of clearing the path to higher knowledge, inner joy and peace. Thus, in many ways, Diwali is a celebration of a fresh beginning a new chapter in the lives of millions that is punctuated by thoughts of prosperity and progression.
Although Diwali is celebrated in slightly different ways across India, the core traditions involve decorating homes with lights, setting off fireworks and handing gifts to friends and family. Flowers are also central to Diwali celebrations and those who observe the festival will often make rangolis from various different types of flowers. The rangoli is essentially a geometric floor design, which often comprises floral arrangements including carnations, roses and orchids of various colours, that is used to attract the attention of Goddess Lakshmi
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