November 3, 2002
3:06 PM   Subscribe

Happy Diwali (or Deepavali) to all Hindu, Indian, Bengali, Punjabi & Sikh metafilter members & readers. Diwali, a 5-day festival, is as important to Hindus and Indians as Christmas is to Christians. The festival is also known as Festival of Lights and its rich history and traditions are rooted in the Hindu epic Ramayana (written in the Sanskrit language) (picture gallery of Ramayana). But there are several legends of how Diwali originated. Although this important festival is celebrated differently in different parts of India and other countries, the significance of Diwali is the unifying belief and celebration of the victory of good / righteousness / light / knowledge over evil / vice/ darkness / ignorance, which is symbolized by the lighting of oil lamps, candles and scented incense during this festival. Enjoy!
posted by taratan (11 comments total)
Happy Diwali! nice post
I'll be spending Diwali in Tooting South London where I live, and enjoying the best thing about London: diversity!
posted by keno at 3:16 PM on November 3, 2002

Great reminder! It's a happy time in India (i wish to be there!) and it marks the birthday of the amazing Goddess Lakshmi (wealth and beauty). Om Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namah!
posted by nandop at 5:34 PM on November 3, 2002 marks the birthday of...Lakshmi (wealth and beauty).
If only Christians could be so honest about Christmas.
posted by goethean at 5:37 PM on November 3, 2002

Round my way (East London) Diwali does seem to be largely celebrated (by kids from the estates) by throwing fireworks at each other. Then again, it's Nov 5th in a couple of days when we in the UK commemorate inept terrorists, also by throwing fireworks at each other. Hmm, maybe they don't feel they need an excuse...
posted by klaatu at 6:12 PM on November 3, 2002

I miss the firecrackers, right now I'd be out bursting bucketloads of rockets and other fireworks.
posted by riffola at 7:38 PM on November 3, 2002

It sounds like a really fun ritual, though the heavyhanded dualism (good vs. evil) is a bit of a shame.
posted by troutfishing at 8:20 PM on November 3, 2002

goethean: You say Christmas, I say Mithras, let's call the whole thing off. < / gershwin>
posted by allaboutgeorge at 10:45 PM on November 3, 2002

... though the heavyhanded dualism (good vs. evil) is a bit of a shame.
The dualism isn't a shame, is a way of thinking and interpreting reality (that can be as good as the advaita truth). And there's no evil side of Lakshmi, she's the power and consort of Vishnu, the preserver (she's the personification of a quality of the absolute, not a reminder for doing good). In fact, I feel the hindu dualism is way different from the christian dualism, that's used more in a sense to justify the sin/guilty concepts. I believe the word "shame" carries a strong dualism in itself and when you do such a judgement you're making an affirmation of that dualism. Deep inside, we all understand each other, it's just a matter of human words. Happy Diwali! :)
posted by nandop at 4:39 AM on November 4, 2002

RE: the link under "unifying belief and celebration of the victory of good", to Sai Baba, is he the only guru who has These accusations,

- or just the most prominent.
posted by Grand Wahzoo at 4:50 AM on November 4, 2002

Grand Wahzoo : I must admit that the link was quite an inadvertent "advertisement" for the beliefs of Sai Baba whose life I know little about. The intended page was supposed to link directly to an article on Deepvali (but I subsequently realized could not be deep linked & could only be accessed from SB's homepage - see right column "Upcoming Festival Deepavali, November 4" ) & was meant to highlight significance of Diwali or Deepvali as explained through a spiritual source. I hope the original link will not cloud our appreciation & basic understanding of this important festival to all Hindus and Indians, which is my primary aim. Anyway, thanks for your link on Sai Baba.
posted by taratan at 8:41 PM on November 4, 2002

It sounds like a fun holiday--Happy Diwali!

(so many religions have a festival where light is important-my hanukkah, for ex.)
posted by amberglow at 8:54 PM on November 4, 2002

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