Diwali : The Festival of Lights
- December 21, 2020
- By Arun Ramamurthy
Diwali or Deepawali is also known as the Festival of Lights. The festival gets its name from the row of clay lamps (‘deepams’) that Indians light outside their homes to celebrate this occasion. The festival generally falls between mid-October and mid-November.
As the legend goes, when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, the citizens of the city welcomed him by lighting rows of clay lamps. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. During the celebration, temples, homes, shops and office buildings are brightly illuminated. The festival of Diwali is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, apart from India.
The Festival has a long recorded history going back several millennia ! The festival originated in the Indian subcontinent and is mentioned in early Sanskrit texts. Several historians have made mention of this important festival in their travelogues. The 16th-century Portuguese traveller Domingo Paes wrote of his visit to the Vijayanagara Empire where Deepawali was celebrated in October with homes and temples being lit with lamps.