Canberra’s Indian community is to celebrate Diwali

Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha

Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. Photo: Sunita Dhindsa.

It’s an exciting time in Canberra as the COVID-19 lock is lifted and restrictions are finally eased. It is even more exciting for people of Indian origin all over the world because Diwali, one of the most anticipated festivals, is coming soon.

Diwali is celebrated not only in India but in many countries that have a historical Indian connection. The festival lights up the earth and the sky and transforms the dark nights into day.

Candles, decorations, house cleaning, food, sweets, fireworks, rituals, prayers and gifts characterize the excitement of a party.

Diwali – or Deepawali or Divali – is celebrated on the 13th-14th. day of the lunar month Kartik Masa (October or November) on the darkest night (amavasya). This year, Diwali falls on Thursday, November 4, and the festival is held from the 2nd-6th. November.

The Festival of Lights transcends lands and religion and transforms houses into a glittering, inviting dwelling, both for gods and humans.

Diwali reminds us of the need to strengthen the divine within us and to destroy the evil forces lurking within to enable us to follow the path of righteousness.

Spiritually, Diwali is about enlightening our minds and hearts and removing ignorance, such as the lit diya (a small clay oil lamp) into which we pour the oil of love and light it with the wick of knowledge and truth.

Indian woman holding candle

Anju with lit diya and candles for Diwali. Photo: Sunita Dhindsa.

Awareness and awakening of inner light helps us to understand that life is a continuous journey for truth, knowledge and to discover our infinite potential.

Diwali has ancient origins in mythology and in the seasonal harvest of the kharif crop.

The five-day Diwali festival begins with Dhanteras when houses are cleaned and decorated.

The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas or Choti Diwali and it is celebrated with religious morning rituals.

The third day is Lakshmi Pooja, the darkest night and the main day of Diwali celebrations, when the goddess Lakshmi visits her devotees and bestows upon them gifts and blessings of health and wealth. According to mythology, the goddess visits the cleanest house first.

The third day also includes the worship of Mahalakshmi (goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (goddess of books and learning), Mahakali (goddess of destruction and universal power), Lord Ganesha (Vighneshvara, master and destroyer of obstacles) and Lord Kubera ( the treasurer of the gods).

Lord Rama, Mother Sita and Lakshman

Lord Rama, Mother Sita and Lakshman. Photo: Sunita Dhindsa.

On the fourth day, some people worship the holy mountain Govardhan, and some celebrate the Balipratipada, which marks the victory of Vamana, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu over Mahabali and all the Asuras, and the return of Mahabali to earth.

The fifth and final day is celebrated by some as Bhai Dooj, and by others as Vishwakarma Pooja.

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Diwali is an opportunity to spread happiness, light and love across the globe.

Across Australia, there will be many Diwali celebrations of different communities and groups hosting events of all sizes.

For greater insight and joy, you can join a family of Indian origin to enjoy Diwali festivities.

No matter how and where Diwali is celebrated, it brings people together and helps spread joy. Using the lamp of love and knowledge, let us lead ourselves out of the darkness into the light (Tamasao ma jyotirgmaya) and help others light the lamp of happiness, prosperity and knowledge.

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