LIFE

Deepavali 2016: Celebrating The Festival Of Lights

Let there be light.

21/10/2016 1:07 PM AEDT | Updated 22/10/2016 8:23 PM AEDT
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Ahmad Masood / Reuters
Widows light sparklers after offering prayers as part of Diwali celebrations.

It is one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals in the Indian diaspora.

Deepavali, also known as Diwali, is a five-day festival celebrated by millions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains. Coinciding with Hindu New Year in 2016, the third day will see colourful lamps and fireworks light up skies in Sydney and across the world on October 30.

"Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness and good over evil," Amit Nandlaskar, spokesperson for the Hindu Council of Australia, told the Huffington Post Australia.

Samsul Said / Reuters
A Hindu man holds an oil lamp while offering prayers ahead of Diwali celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.

For its nineteeth year, The Hindu Council of Australia will be hosting Deepavali at Parramatta Park on Sunday, with up to 25,000 visitors expected to attend.

The day will feature up to 500 performances, rangoli art making (an Indian art form whereby patterns are created on a floor using coloured rice, sand and flowers) and appearances from various community leaders and MPs.

The festival will finish with a fireworks display and the burning of a 40 foot Ravana effigy (we'll get to this later).

What is Deepavali?

Deepavali means "Garland of Lights" and is seen as an act of reverance in India -- a way of welcoming or honouring a person publicly.

"Throughout history, there have been different victories on this day in India," Nandlaskar said.

The most popular narrative is that of Lord Rama, who returns to his kingdom, Ayodhya, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshama after defeating the demon king, Ravana.

"Ravana was a scholar, but he was sometimes disrespectful towards women and was always causing havoc. He knew that he would die, but stood by his principles and fought," Nandlaskar said.

The people of Ayodhya lit candles and lamps to celebrate his return.

Whilst firmly engrained in the Indian diaspora, this interpretation of Diwali is not limited to Hinduism.

"Diwali is celebrated all over the world and across cultures. Sikhs, Jains and Muslims come together to celebrate," Nandlaskar said.

How is it celebrated?

"On one of the days, Lakshimi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, enters peoples' homes.

"Beforehand, people will decorate their homes with candles and colourful lights, and light lamps outside as a gesture to welcome her," Nandlaskar said.

Shailesh Andrade / Reuters
Customers shop for lanterns at a roadside Diwali market in Mumbai.

On the night of the festival, families and friends come together and offer prayers to Sita, Rama and Lakshimi, among others, followed by the bursting of fire crackers and a serious dose of Indian sweets.

"Hundreds of sweets are shared and cooking them at home is key," Nandlaskar said.

Amit Dave / Reuters
Hindu priests put the finishing touches to a rangoli artwork in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.

Click below to follow HuffPost Australia on Snapchat!

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement