When it gets cooler in Manali, only a handful of foreign tourists can be seen in the Manali markets and a peaceful calm sets in in the mountain village, then it will be that time again for Diwali.
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights and the most important holiday in India, takes place every year on the 15th of the month of Kartik, 20 days after Dusshera at the new moon. This year Diwali falls on October 30th.
The name Diwali comes from Deepavali. "Deepa" means lamp and "Avali" means chain. In fact, chains of oil lights are set up in front of the houses and nowadays the whole house is also adorned with electronic fairy lights. The light symbolizes the inner fire that protects us from the spiritual darkness.
Even if the Diwali festival is based on a different divine story in each region of India, all stories have in common that good triumphs over evil.
At Diwali, brightness is celebrated over darkness, life over death, love over hate and good over evil.
Originally, Diwali marked the end of the harvest season and thus the end of the year. Even today the financial year ends on Diwali, the bookkeeping is completed and the goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of prosperity) is worshiped for a successful new financial year.
In families too, sacred rituals for Lakshmi are celebrated and doors and windows are opened and lights are lit. Because it is said that Lakshmi travels the earth on Diwali and looks in which houses she is welcomed.
In Indian families, Diwali is a mixture of Christmas and New Year's Eve. People get together, enjoy lavish dishes, distribute sweets to the neighbors and ignite fireworks late into the night.
Like so many Indian festivals, Diwali also extends over several days:
On the first day the house is cleaned and gold and kitchen utensils are bought.
On day two, the house is decorated with lamps and decorative shapes are painted on the floor with colored sand.
On the third day, the main day, the family comes together, prays to Lakshmi and sets off fireworks.
On the fourth day you visit family and neighbors, wish each other the best for the new year and distribute sweets.
On the last day the brothers visit their sisters and are welcomed by them with an elaborate meal.
Diwali is always beautiful, especially when you have the opportunity to spend it with an Indian family. Then you can play with the children with fire candles, you are fed with tons of sweets and have the feeling of a contemplative Christmas mood - just not the loud fireworks.
Because in addition to the beautiful fireworks, the Indians especially love the Chinese firecrackers, which are crashed into the air days before Diwali and a few days after the festival. You almost think you are at war, it is so loud and if you have the bad luck and one of the blasts goes off right next to you, then you are a bit deaf at first.
But with Prime Minister Modi, the “Pollution Free Diwali” campaign was launched and significantly more Indians are leaving their hands off the fireworks this year and are celebrating Diwali a little more contemplatively.
In this sense. Happy Diwali!
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