Today, millions of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs all over the world are celebrating Diwali. Also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, it is one of the most eagerly awaited and widely celebrated Indian festivals.
The significance behind Diwali varies amongst the different states of India. While the stories may differ, they all celebrate the triumph of good over evil! For some Hindus, Diwali also marks the end of the calendar year. Tomorrow, they will celebrate the first day of the year 2069. That is because the Vikram Samvat Hindu calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle, is 57 years ahead of the conventional Christian calendar, that we all follow.
For kids living in India, Diwali is the equivalent of Christmas in the western countries. They get a week’s vacation from school, receive gifts from their parents and other relatives (no Santa Claus however!), wear their best clothes, eat great food and get to play with sparklers and fireworks. Sounds fun doesn’t it?
Hostels are decorated and lit up with diyas and lights and the fireworks and loud music try to drown each other out late into the night. The senior hostels take part in the God knows how old tradition of not-so-modern warfare and we sincerely hope this year it goes without incident.
Happy Diwali !!