The Diwali illuminations with lighted diyas bring the supernatural brightness and joy with the hope of finding light in darkness, achieving knowledge where there is ignorance, and spreading love amidst hatred. Diwali is also known as the Festival of Lights. Light is significant in Hinduism because it signifies goodness. So, during the Festival of Lights, ‘deeps’, or oil lamps, are burned throughout the day and into the night to ward off darkness and evil.
We enjoy scheduling a lunch or an outing on several of the holidays that are celebrated in our team. We learn about different traditions and share a meal and conversation. Some of our other groups have a pot luck lunch, but in SF we have so many great restaurants we pick one and enjoy. – the editor
Homes are filled with these oil lamps, candles and lights. Some people use decorated light candles, some decorated diya or clay lamps, and other decorative lights and put them in their windows for the festival. Traditionally people use ‘earthen lamps’ with cotton wicks and oil to light up the dark night. As man progresses, tradition gives way to modernity. Similarly, earthen lamps have replaced candles of various colors and forms. Electric lights of different shapes and sizes illuminate the dark, cold nights of Diwali
The idea behind the Festival of Lights comes from various versions of an ancient Hindu story. In northern India, the tale tells about the holy Lord Rama’s return from a twelve-year exile and the celebration by the people for their beloved hero. The pious and rejoicing people decorated their city with candles and lights to welcome him back. In southern India, the story talks of the Goddess Durga’s triumph over the evil demon Narakasura. This triumph of good over evil brought back the light of knowledge and truth to mankind.
See other holidays that we enjoy as a group. Many days coincide with other holidays. Some don’t have an equivalent but are fun to share.
7/4 Independence Day (USA) and 8/15: Independence Day (CTS)
9/5: Ganesh Chaturthi (CTS) More information on Ganesh.
9/5: Labor Day (WF)
10/11: Dussera/Vijayadasami (CTS)
10/31: Diwali (CTS), Halloween (USA)