2023-2024 State President
Diwali: The Festival of Lights
Eating festival food and sweets that my mom made and seeing the extravagant fireworks at the temple always made Diwali a special day for me. I wear traditional clothes, eat my favorite foods, and embrace my culture. The spirit of Diwali truly is something magical as the entire community unites and celebrates all together. In short, Diwali is the festival of lights, and the celebration of prosperity. This explanation, however, does not do justice to the spirit of the holiday, and the full meaning it has.
Let's start with the significance… Diwali marks the triumph of light and knowledge over darkness and ignorance. It is a time to illuminate homes, temples, and public spaces with lamps and lights to dispel the metaphorical darkness.
For many Hindus, Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama (a form of god) to his kingdom after defeating the demon king. In South India, it's associated with the victory of Lord Krishna (another form of god) over a demon. One of the many beauties of Diwali is that it is not just limited to Hinduism. In Jainism, it commemorates the attainment of nirvana by Jain founder, Lord Mahavira. Sikhs also celebrate Diwali to mark the release of their guru from imprisonment.
Now that we have discussed the history and significance of the holiday, let’s focus on some of the celebrations!
We have discussed so much about the holiday of Diwali, but why is it important to understand?
One of the biggest strengths of the United States is its diversity. We are surrounded by all types of people, cultures, and religions, and in order to embrace and promote inclusivity, it is important to understand and respect the perspectives of all cultures, even if they may not be our own. It is my hope that this little glimpse into the vast significance of Diwali will allow each and every one of you to better understand the culture of the Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs alike, and motivate you to go learn more about holidays and cultures you may not know much about. Every culture has its own rich intricacies that we can only see the true beauty of by looking to understand and experience them through stories, food, and celebration. Celebration is meant to bring us all together, and in the spirit of Diwali, I challenge each and every one of you to go and experience even a little of what this holiday has to offer, whether that is attending the festivals, or just doing some more research!
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