In India, the festival of Diwali equals Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s eve, all rolled into one. It’s about festivities, food, family, gifts, sweets, fire-crackers, new traditional clothes, lamps, gambling and prayers to the Goddess of wealth, Laxmi. Underneath all that, it is about the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness.
In mythological terms it is the day Lord Rama and his wife Sita returned to their kingdom after being away for 14 years during which time they went through a lot of difficulties and learnt many lessons as per the epic of Ramayana. It is a day of celebrations with a very festive build up which starts at least 3 weeks prior.
Every year the date changes according to the lunar calendar as it always falls on the night of the new moon. Households and streets are lit up with oil lamps and candles to dispel the darkness of the night.
I remember when my son was little all the extended family was together lighting fire crackers. Before we lit the first lot we all greeted each other with “Happy Diwali!”. Thereafter every time we went to light them he said in his joyful little voice “Happy Diwali!” He was a happy kid. Always up for a good time.
Last year, he died one week before Diwali.
But he continues to be the light of my life.
A very Happy Diwali to him and to all of you!
“A physical lamp is just a symbol. The real lamp is ‘You’ and you have to be lit up, vibrant, smiling, joyful and full of energy because that is the real festival. And this can only happen with knowledge, not just with comforts, gadgets, money or friends. Real happiness comes with knowledge.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.