Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Diwali - Festival of Light

This is the season for Diwali or the Hindu "Festival of Light." The festival signifies the victory of good over evil. It's a day for people to wear new clothes, hand out sweets, and celebrate, sometimes with firecrackers. Because it marks the end of the harvest season, it's a logical time for the closing of accounts, which is why many businesses in India close their fiscal year's accounts at Diwali.

At Diwali, people craft patterns in sprinkled sand, colored powders, and even grains, on the floors and pavement of their homes. These designs are called "rangoli," and people visit one another's homes to see the patterns, and to exchange sweets and treats.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Diwali is the tradition of decorating one's home with lights - rows of candles or small oil lamps.

Rumer Godden's novel "The River," was made into a film by French director Jean Renoir in 1951. A key scene occurs when her character Harriet experiences a life-changing revelation during the night of lights of Diwali.

The Wikipedia entry on Diwali says that it is celebrated on the first day of the lunar month Kartika, which in 2008 is October 28.


cactus petunia said...

Beautiful photo!

Funny thing: I felt compelled to light lots of candles last night, and I didn't know why. Until today.


carmilevy said...

What a beautiful tradition, and I'm so happy you chose to share it with us!

There's a certain poetry associated with festivals and holidays that revolve around harvests, beginnings and endings. It's such a poignant way to close some things off and prepare for what comes next. Humans are indeed cyclical beings, and we need to take the time to mark the turns of the season. This is a lovely way to do just that!