Happy Diwali to all of our friends and colleagues.
Diwali falls in either October or November each year, depending on the cycle of the moon. It is observed on the 15th. day of Kartik, specifically the darkest day of the lunar month, which is the day of the new moon and is the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar. Diwali is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains. Diwali is a five day festival and each day has a specific meaning, starting on the 12th. with the main day being celebrated on the 14th. November.
For more information on the 5 days please refer to this comprehensive Diwali Calendar.
Meaning and Significance
Diwali or Deepavali is a festival in which people of all age groups participate. They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen diyas (lamps), decorating their houses, setting off firecrackers, and inviting friends and neighbors near into their households to partake in a sumptuous feast. Lighting of lamps is a way of paying obedience to God for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor, and fame.
Diwali is the one time in the year that children volunteer to leave their beds long before the day begins. In fact, a traditional oil bath takes place at 3am, and is a precursor to lots of predawn adventures. Children emerge, scrubbed clean to dress in their festive attire and to light little oil lamps, candles, sparklers, and agarbathis (scented sticks), and firecrackers.
On Diwali night, small clay lamps are lit in homes. Recently this is now more often colored electric lamps. The significance of lighting a lamps is that to Hindus darkness represents ignorance, and light is a simple metaphor for knowledge. Therefore, lighting a lamp symbolises the destruction, through knowledge, of all wickedness, violence, lust, anger, envy, greed, bigotry, fear, injustice, oppression and suffering.
It is through light that the beauty of this world is revealed and experienced. Most religions recognize the importance of light and mark its significance as being a gift of God.