Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most important festivals in the Indian subcontinent, especially for Hindus. While the reason for celebrating the “festival of lights” is deeply embedded in Hindu mythology, people of all religions celebrate it nowadays especially in India. It’s a time for family, good food, traditions, and reveling in the spirit of togetherness.
Diwali is celebrated every year between end of October – beginning of November on a new moon night. It’s called the festival of lights since loads of oil lamps (earthen lamps) are used to traditionally lighten up the house and welcome the Gods into your household, asking for prosperity, wealth, happiness, and good luck. Traditionally, Diwali starts with a small prayer ceremony where the lighting of the lamps takes place, followed by food, bursting firecrackers, and sometimes a bit of gambling (just a tokenism representing good fortune and wealth).
Interesting Fact : Diwali is celebrated a day earlier in South India than in North India owing to moon faced varying by latitude. So the new moon in South India is a day earlier than the new moon day in North India.
A new generation feminist outlook on Diwali : Since Diwali celebrates the homecoming of Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile, there’s a lot of discourse around “celebrating” a person who, to be honest, wasn’t exactly the “epitome of human character” especially when it concerned his own wife, Sita. Lauded as a valiant do-gooder (correct), a good son (correct), a great ruler (correct), and the perfect husband (couldn’t be far from the truth here), Rama subjected his own wife to suspicion and humiliation regarding her character, not once but on multiple occasions, a characteristic anti-feminist outlook. Which eventually resulted in her getting fed up and praying to the Earth goddess to “split open” and swallow her whole (which the Earth did, as our mythology goes). Suggested watching : Sita Sings The Blues (an amazing animated new gen feminist view of the Ramayana)
In any case, a few photographs from the Diwali gathering at my house, which included lighting the candles and lamps, Bollywood dancing (someone needs to send me those pictures), and yummy food! 🙂 Diwali, to me, is about family, and my Fellows are my family 🙂
Here are three videos from the event – do watch!