A dark night lit with innumerable lamps and sky sparkling with a spectacular display of bedazzling fireworks. This is the night of celebration of the Hindu festival of light – Diwali.
The many festivals of India depict the unity in diversity of the vast country, uniting people from different communities for a common purpose of upholding traditions and merry-making. Indian festivals are characterized by such high level of euphoria that people from all social backgrounds momentarily forget their everyday struggle and come together to celebrate the occasions with great pomp and extravagance.
These Indian festivals of extraordinary revelry are believed to have originated thousands of years ago and hold immense religious and emotional significance amongst the people of India. In fact, the rich culture of India can be attributed to these traditions of celebrations. Every festival has a meaningful and fascinating story of its origin that reveals the values that form the foundation of this great country.
Although the stories of origin of Diwali vary from region to region, the rituals are almost similar. Typically, people clean their homes to welcome the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Many Indians renovate their entire home or replaces old furniture, wall paint, etc to renew their homes. The sale of electronics and white goods go up during this time of the year as people try to replace old with new. The clean and newly decorated homes are then lit with lamps and the ladies of the house draw colorful and elaborate Rangoli designs both inside and outside their homes. Like their homes, people also dress themselves in new clothes and accessories. This is also the time of the year when people invest in buying gold.
In the evening, all members of the families worship Goddess Lakshmi to ask her blessings for wealth and prosperity. Once the prayers have been offered, people eat different confections, some of which are especially made for the occasion.
The celebrations continue on the following days of Diwali. Fireworks are common from the second day and especially on the main day of Diwali.