By Ria Devgon
Many people don’t know that there was a special event that happened on Sunday, October 27. This event called Diwali is celebrated by millions of people all over the world. Diwali or Deepavali is a Hindu festival of lights. This holiday is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Many Hindu’s all over the world come together with the people they love to celebrate this wonderful holiday by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes with lights and candles.
Many other religions also celebrate this holiday. According to Britannica, “Diwali is also an important festival in Jainism. For the Jain community, the festival commemorates the passing into nirvana of Mahavira, the most recent of the Jain Tirthankaras. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahavira’s passing. Diwali is also an important festival in Jainism. For the Jain community, the festival commemorates the passing into nirvana of Mahavira, the most recent of the Jain Tirthankaras. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahavira’s passing.”
So what’s the story of Diwali? The story told on this holiday is that there was one a prince named Rama who had a beautiful wife named Sita. There was also a terrible demon named Ravana, who had twenty arms, ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife so one day, he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. However, when Sita was kidnapped, she left a trail of her jewelry for Rama to follow. Rama realized that she was gone and went to follow the trail she left along with his brother, Lakshmi. While Rama and Lakshmi followed this trail, they met with the monkey king, Hanuman, who became their friend and agreed to help them find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita. After a very long search, Hanuman found Sita imprisoned on an island. Rama’s army of monkeys and bears couldn’t reach the island, so they began to build a bridge. Soon all the animals of the world, large and small, came to help. When the bridge was built, they rushed across it and fought a mighty battle. When Rama defeated the evil Ravana with a magic arrow, the whole world rejoiced. Rama and Sita began their long journey back to their land, and everybody lit oil lamps to guide them on their way and welcome them back. Ever since, people have been lighting candles to remember that light triumphs over dark and good always defeats evil.
(Left: Rama, Right: Sita)
On November 3rd, The Hindu Society of North Carolina or the HSNC celebrated this holiday in the temple located in Morrisville, NC by having dancers all over the area come in and give dance performances for the public as well as sell food and ice cream.
They also did fireworks at night to celebrate the wonderful victory of Rama, Lakshmi, and Hanuman. They allowed the public to bring their own fireworks to join them in the celebration.
Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that’s also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. Diwali is a time spent with joy and happiness all over the world. As this Diwali season ends, we always remember the lesson of the story and anticipate for next year.
शुभ दीवाली or Happy Diwali!