Cultural Event - Essay Example

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Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights that lasts for five days and it is the most widely celebrated commemoration by people from the Indian sub-continent and across the whole world. The term Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dīpãvali’ which means “row of lights”…
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Cultural Event Introduction Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights that lasts for five days and it is the most widely celebrated commemoration by people from the Indian sub-continent and across the whole world. The term Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dīpãvali’ which means “row of lights” (Suganyasree para1-6). Diwali festival symbolizes victory of good over the evil, light over darkness, as well as knowledge over ignorance (Suganyasree para1-6). There are numerous mythological explanations about this incredible festival though the most common explanation about it in the modern world is the festival stands for reaffirmation of hope, religious tolerance, a renewed commitment to friendship, spreading the word of peace and harmony and above all, celebration of “simple joys of life”.
For many Hindus, Diwali is also the New Year’s Eve and it is held on the final day of the Vikram calendar, a type of Hindu calendar followed by Indians from the Northern part of the country. The day after Diwali is known as Annakut and it is considered as New Year’s Day for Hindus living in the Northern part of India (Diwali Festival 498). Diwali is always in October and November on the Gregorian calendar (Hindu Council of Australia para 2-6). The festival is accompanied by various rituals with the choice of ritual to be performed by an individual depending on the location of that particular person. However, lighting of candles, electric lights and fireworks is the most common practice for many Indians when they are celebrating Diwali festival. As the name suggests, ‘rows of lights’ are lit in the new moon night as a way of welcoming Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and on Bengal, to honor the goddess Kali who is so honored (Hindu Council of Australia para 2-6). In other words, Diwali is celebrated at night more than during the day.
Indians attribute much value to the Diwali symbols since they consider them to bring forth the significance of Diwali. The symbols stand for happiness and prosperity which is celebrated with great zest and enthusiasm because Diwali many Hindus associate the festival with prosperity and wealth (Anon para3-9). Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are the most important symbols of Diwali and people literally worship them on this special day. Lord Ganesha represents good luck whereas Goddess Lakshmi is believed to be the Mother of Wealth. Other common symbols include Earthenware, lamp fireworks, candles, Diwali diyas, fireworks and oil Diwali lamps just to mention a few. During this ramrkable day, people share gifts, sweets and mementos as a way of showing love and friendship. The most common mementos include clay lamps that are created in the shapes of birds, animals and deities (Dickmann 36). They occur in various types with sources showing that there are always more than 2000 types of memento during this iconic festival.
The main beliefs about Diwali festival is that the festival is meant for reaffirmation of hope, religious tolerance, a renewed commitment to friendship, spreading the word of peace and harmony and above all, celebration of “simple joys of life” (Diwali Festival 498). For some Indians especially those living in the northern part, the festival also marks their new year (Diwali Festival 499). Hindus, Sikhs and Jains oberseve this festive religiously as they articulate their celebration to victory over evil, and uplifting of spiritual darkness.
Works Cited
Anonymous. "Diwali (Deepavali): Hindu Festival of Lights - ReligionFacts." Religion, World Religions, Comparative Religion - Just the facts on the worlds religions. N.p., 2013. Web. 25 June 2014. Anonymous. "Happy Diwali Cards, free Diwali Greetings." Greetings and Wishes - Since 1998. Greeting Cards, Quotes, Desktops & Wallpapers. N.p., 2012. Web. 25 Ju Barman, S. C., et al. "Ambient air quality of Lucknow City (India) during use of fireworks on Diwali Festival." Environmental monitoring and assessment 137.1-3 (2008): 495-504.
Dickmann, Nancy. “Diwali.” Chicago, Ill: Heinemann Library, 2011. Print.
Hindu Council of Australia. "Deepavali – Festival of Lights." Home | Deepavali. N.p., 2012. Web. 25 June 2014. Suganyasree Rajesh. "Diwali 2013 in Jaipur, Rajasthan." - Everything about Jaipur. N.p., 2013. Web. 25 June 2014. . Read More
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