Diwali, the festival of lights as it is popularly called, is ushered in every year with much ado and aplomb, across the country, and nowadays, even in most parts of the world. Usually a five day celebration in most parts of the country, Diwali is a cause for great festivities. Beginning on “No Moon Day” or Amaavasya, the festival goes on, for a period of 5-7 days, with the heralding of the New Year, as per the Hindu calendar too.

There is a whole lot of merry-making during the festival, lamps are lit, diyas as they are called; friends and families get together in an atmosphere of camaraderie and bonhomie. As it is a new year for many communities, old books are closed and new accounts are opened – Goddess Lakshmi too is propitiated, in order to receive her blessings!

In the north the festival is celebrated as Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom after the defeat of Ravana. In the western parts, like Maharashtra and Gujarat, the Goddess of Wealth is honoured and prayed to. In the south, the festival is celebrated for 3 days with an exuberance that is hard to equal, and in the east the festival is mostly associated with Goddess Kali and for remembering departed souls.

Even abroad, the festival is being celebrated every year – many Indians have settled all over the world and so the tradition is being carried on…. in the White House in America for instance, Diwali is given due importance and is celebrated as their “Indian Christmas!”

Diwali is not just about fireworks and lighting diyas or eating sweets. It is also about lighting up our souls from within and rediscovering our connection with all that is divine. A Happy Diwali to all of you!