Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Diwali: The Festival Of Lights!

Diwali: The Festival Of Lights!

I have shared a lot of my Indian culture and heritage with you all, so I will share more about Diwali during Diwali week! I am so happy I get to be home for Diwali this year as it’s been well over 5 years since I got to celebrate it with my family and friends…

Diwali or Dipawali is one of the biggest celebrations for Indians and is celebrated all over India with excitement and enthusiasm. The origin of the word ‘Diwali’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepavali’ where ‘deepa’ means light and ‘vali’ means row, hence ‘row of lights’ which every household has on the auspicious day – houses are decorated with streams of light and rows of clay lamps in front of their homes.

The festival is celebrated for the duration of 5 days with belief and celebration of the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. This is the day Lord Rama came home with goddess Sita after defeating Ravana and finishing his 14 years of exile, hence new and positive beginnings. The festival also heralds the dawn of a New Year according to the Hindu Calendar.

Diwali is celebrated by decorating the house with lights, flowers and decorations, exchanging sweets with family and friends, performing pooja in the place, kids lighting crackers in the evening, giving each other gifts and spending time with family. All the memories of Diwali since childhood are intact, and the rituals still remain the same. A typical day for me during Diwali is getting up, getting ready in new clothes, completing all the last minute arrangements left for pooja in the house. As evening strikes, the whole family will gather together to perform the pooja and remember our gods, then the entire house is lit up with clay lamps in every corner and lights in the front of the house. Family and friends visit each other having some quality time and later celebrating with burning some crackers or, if no crackers, just spending time with family.

The whole of India is just lit up all night with celebrations and music. However one wants to celebrate on the day, everyone just comes together and celebrates it as one, no matter what gender, caste or community you belong to. If you are ever planning to go to India, seeing the festival of Diwali during that trip will make your trip worthwhile.

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