Monday, October 15, 2012

Diwali Day and Other Hindu Festivals

Many of us who share many traditions don't often stop to think about what holidays and festivals others celebrate. If we are not exposed to other views and other customs it may come to seem that without our usual calendar, there is nothing else out there in the world. Yet the calendar in many places is filled with holidays virtually unknown in the west.

Let's Know Hinduism: The Oldest Religion of Infinite Adaptability and Diversity by R. C. Dogra, Urmila Dogra is a simple and interesting book about the ways of India, especially the major festivals celebrated by Hindus. He writes that Hindus celebrate hundreds of festivals, many of them with spiritual and cultural importance. They often involve dance, food, ritual, devotions, processions and feeding the poor. He details most of the occasions observed by most Hindus.

In the month of October-November falls the Festival of Lamps, or Diwali/Deepavali. In some places the festival is two days or as many as five. Celebrating Lord Rama return from exile. For some Hindus, the occasion commemorates the victory of Dharma and Ahisma over injustice and violence. In many areas there are events commemorating various aspects of the scripture regarding Lord Rama and the Goddess Lakshmi. Here in the United States more and more, Diwali day is being celebrated in communities small and large. Areas where there are growing numbers of  Indians are likely to have observances. It is also customary to wish friends and neighbors, Happy Diwali Day!

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