Diwali 2023: The pageant of lights, defined by rituals | Arts and Tradition Information

Diwali 2023: The pageant of lights, defined by rituals | Arts and Tradition Information

The core concept behind Diwali is the triumph of excellent over evil, mirrored in its rituals like diyas and rangoli.

Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains worldwide will rejoice Diwali this 12 months on November 12. The festivities that run for 5 days are characterised by vivid lights, burning incense and opulent meals — particularly sweets. Households in any other case separated by distance or discord come collectively.

Here’s what to find out about a few of the rituals practised throughout Diwali:


The phrase Diwali comes from the Sanskrit roots “deepa” (lights) and “avali” (row). The phrase, in flip, interprets to row of lights. The pageant is characterised by totally different lighting decorations similar to fireworks and candles.

The decorations most intently related to the pageant are earthen oil lamps known as diyas.

The importance of diyas is rooted within the Hindu legend of Ramayana. That is the story of Prince Rama, whose spouse Sita was kidnapped. When Rama and Sita returned to their kingdom, Ayodhya, folks welcomed them with diyas.

This legend isn’t the one one behind Diwali. Different spiritual and regional communities affiliate totally different mythologies with it. What unites them is the elemental concept that Diwali celebrates the victory of excellent over evil, which is what diyas symbolise.

“Folks attempt to enlighten the darkish locations, not solely of their properties however their souls,” Manpreet Arora, senior assistant professor at Central College of Himachal Pradesh, India, informed Al Jazeera.

Diyas are lit at a Diwali pageant in Colombo, Sri Lanka [File: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters]

Arora wrote concerning the pivotal position girls play in Hindu festivals within the reminiscence of her late mom throughout one Diwali season. She reminisced about Diwali again in her childhood, when she would enthusiastically assist her mom put together the home for festivities.

Days earlier than Diwali, folks begin cleansing their homes. “Any person is getting new curtains, someone is getting their home painted,” Arora added. Folks guarantee their homes are clear and pristine in preparation for welcoming the goddess Lakshmi into the properties.

On Dhanteras, the primary of the 5 days of festivities — it fell on November 10 this 12 months — markets are bustling. Arora mentioned that on Dhanteras, folks’s purchases vary from small objects similar to diyas to luxurious merchandise. Nonetheless, silver jewelry and utensils are significantly wanted on at the present time. A silver coin is believed to convey “good luck and fortune,” she mentioned.

People look at lanterns displayed for sale at roadside stalls ahead of Diwali festival in Mumbai, India,
Markets in Mumbai, India, bustle with folks and decorations [Rafiq Maqbool/AP]

Lakshmi pooja

The date of Diwali is definitely the third day of festivities, which falls on the brand new moon. On the night of at the present time, lamps are lit and Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped.

Noise is often created utilizing drums and firecrackers to drive away Alakshmi, Lakshmi’s damaging shadow reverse. Nonetheless, fireworks have in recent times raised issues about rising air air pollution.

Arora mentioned that the federal government is urging folks to not use firecrackers, which is main folks to practise “inexperienced Diwali” to minimise air pollution, Arora mentioned. Inexperienced Diwali additionally entails “selling native handmade diyas by artisans reasonably than buying from huge companies on-line”.

A businessman offers prayers to Hindu gods in front of a laptop as part of a ritual to worship the Hindu deity of wealth "Goddess Lakshmi" on Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad October 28, 2008. The ritual known also as "Muhurat trading" is considered auspicious by traders and marks the beginning of the new trading year for the Gujarati community in India, who form the bulk of share brokers and businessmen in India.
Since Lakshmi is related to wealth, it is not uncommon for merchants to invoke her blessings and put money into shares in a ritual known as Muhurat buying and selling. This 2008 picture exhibits a businessman from Ahmedabad, India, doing the identical [File: Amit Dave/Reuters]


Totally different patterns are drawn on flooring and surfaces with supplies like colored sand, rice flour or powdered limestone. This artwork type known as rangoli and can be practised to welcome Lakshmi.

Whereas some rangoli patterns are geometric designs, totally different rangoli motifs maintain totally different meanings similar to:

  • The lotus flower with six petals is a standard motif as it’s related to Lakshmi and it additionally signifies wealth and fertility. Lotuses develop within the mud to bloom as vibrant flowers, reinforcing the theme of sunshine over darkness.
  • Owls are related to auspiciousness in Bengal the place they’re believed to be Lakshmi’s car, which makes them an necessary motif of alpana, which is the rangoli practised in Bengal, created throughout Lakshmi pooja.
  • Footprints, additionally known as paglya level in direction of the house to invoke Lakshmi. Footprints pointing in the other way are thought-about to be inauspicious and are related to Alakshmi.
A woman decorates the pavement outside her home with sand, known as rangoli art, to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali
This 2015 picture exhibits a lady making rangoli artwork in Leicester, United Kingdom [Christopher Furlong/Getty Images/File]

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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