English 34

English 34


Diwali or Dipawali,1 is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects against spiritual darkness. Celebrations last for six days, with each day marking2 one of the six stories associated to3 the festival.

Diwali, celebrated annually4 in October or November each year, originated as a harvest festival that marked the last harvest of the year before winter. In ancient times, India was an agricultural society in which people would seek the divinely blessing5 of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, as they closed they’re6 accounting books and prayed for success at the outset of a new financial year.

On the other hand,7 this practice extends to businesses all over the Indian subcontinent, which mark the day after Diwali as the first day of the new financial year. Indians celebrate with: family gatherings; festive fireworks; bonfires; flowers, sweets, and worship8 of Lakshmi. Some believe that Lakshmi wanders the Earth looking for homes where she can sneak inside.9 People open their doors and windows and light lamps to invite her in.

Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of what their faith is:10 Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs all celebrate together. In North India, they honor the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya by lighting rows of clay lamps. [11] In South India, they celebrate the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. In all interpretations, moreover,12 one common thread rings true—the festival marks the victory of good over evil.

On the first day of Diwali, they consider it13 good luck to clean the home and shop for gold or kitchen utensils. On the second day, which is also the first day of the new year, people decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns on the floor using colored powders or sand. This is the main day of the festival when families gather together14 for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi followed by mouth-watering feasts and fireworks. On the remaining days, friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season. [15]