Diwali is a very special time of the year for millions of people in India and worldwide. The word “Diwali” itself roughly translates to “a row of lights,” referencing the Hindu custom of lighting candles, sweets, and other offerings. This ancient festival brings lots of happiness and joy to all and is celebrated with fireworks, colorful decorations, and traditional foods. But what is the history behind this big event? What historical events led to Diwali becoming an important date on the calendar, and why is it still so celebrated so many years later? You can read about that below and enjoy all the beautiful pictures we took of the event:
Origin of Diwali:
Diwali is a Hindu holiday which, along with the festivals that come right before (Dussehra) and right after (Dhanteras), actually celebrates many events. Diwali usually signifies the beginning of the Hindu New Year, bringing about the end to the Hindu festival season of what is called “Sharad Navaratra.” Diwali runs on the Hindu calendar, which is set a little longer than the Western calendar, and normally falls sometime between late October and early November. Even though it is observed across the country, this festival is most widely celebrated in the north of India, where the most popular Hindu sect, Vaishnava, is set. Diwali is observed by Hindus across the world, but it is most widely observed in Hindu temples where vegetarian offerings are traditionally made.
The story of Diwali in great part follows the story of Hinduism. It is closely tied to the epic story of Ramayana, a very old Hindu legend that was first written down many years after it had been passed down orally from generation to generation. The story tells of Ram, the main hero of the tale, and his journey to defeat the demon king Ravan, who kidnapped his wife Sita and his brother Laxmana and was holding them on an island on the other side of India. Ravan had gained his powers from the goddess of the no moon and had committed many terrible crimes, including kidnapping Sita prior to the events of the Ramayana.
The story goes that Ram left for a 14-year exile into the forest, fighting many battles along the way. Along the way, he met a monkey leader named Sugriva, who had just been cast out of his kingdom by his brother Vali. Ram agreed to serve as Sugriva’s commander in his fight against his brother, and in exchange, Sugriva sent his forces to help Ram find Sita. Finally, Ram succeeded in defeating Ravan, winning back Sita, and restoring the kingdom to Sugriva’s brother after Vali’s death. Finally, when Ram returned to his kingdom of Ayodhaya, where he was crowned king, the citizens lit up the whole city with their own personal lights to welcome him home during the time of celebration of the coronation. This is how the lighting has become a tradition during Diwali.
Significance of Diwali In Today’s Society:
Diwali is still widely celebrated across India by Hindus, even more so than many other Indian festivals. Even though Hinduism is a religion that is mostly unique to India, this holiday has spread across many other countries, including countries that are not even predominantly Hindu.
There are many reasons why Diwali has become such a widely observed festival. Although the Hindu custom of lighting is still observed, especially in temples, many people who do not practice or believe in Hinduism also celebrate it because of the overall positive feelings it brings to the community. It is a great time for families to get together, for neighbors to congratulate each other on a successful year, and for communities to come together at large celebrations such as lantern fairs and fireworks shows. Many non-Hindu Indians also celebrate this holiday because of its overall positive feel. Even though Diwali is also a Hindu holiday, non-Hindus will still celebrate portions of the festival, or all of it. Engen Photography was hired to capture several photos of the party. Here’s a skyline picture that our photography service took:
Diwali is one of the most important festivals celebrated by many in India and across the world. Despite how old the holiday is, it is widely observed every year and has become one of the most widely celebrated holidays across the world by many who do not believe in Hinduism. Still, the symbolism behind the festival – win over evil and celebrate good fortune – remains firmly rooted in culture across India and much of the world.
If you’re looking for a Diwali photographer or someone who can capture the important moments from any event, get in touch with our team today.