Festival of Lights in India: what you need to know about one of the most beautiful festivals in the world
Diwali is one of the oldest festivals in the country
Diwali is one of the most popular sacral festivals in India, which has been celebrated for more than a millennium. It symbolises the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. During the celebration, people everywhere light candles, lamps, lanterns and set off fireworks. Cities are illuminated with the glitter of multi-coloured lights.
Indians determine the dates of the holiday according to the Vedic lunar calendar. In 2023 the festivities will last from 10 to 14 November.
There are many legends associated with Diwali. Vaishnavites believe that Diwali has been celebrated since the coronation of Prince Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. It is believed that on the night of his ascension to the throne, a magnificent divine illumination was arranged all over the country.
In most parts of India, the festival of Diwali is dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fertility, the consort of Vishnu. People place a red cloth on her altar, pray and bring her gifts of fruits, nuts and sweets.
Often during the festival you can see Indians burning images of the demon Narakasura. It is believed that he caused great misfortune to people all over the world, for which he was defeated by the god Vishnu. To commemorate this feat, Hindus smear themselves with coconut oil, which they believe should cleanse them of their sins. This ceremony is considered equal to ablution in the sacred Ganges.
For some groups of people (such as the trading communities of Western India), Diwali coincides with the beginning of the New Year. Traders and businessmen close old accounts as a sign of getting rid of everything that has passed away.
During Diwali celebrations, the main thing is to put the mind, body and home in order. It is mandatory for everyone to discard unnecessary things, awaken from the deep sleep of ignorance and be connected to the higher Light.
People exchange greetings, good wishes, gifts, and also distribute sweets to each other as a reminder that human speech should also be sweet. Vivid emotions on this day are intertwined with a bouquet of wonderful tastes and aromas.
All travelling enthusiasts should visit India at least once during this festival and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the luminous celebration.