Diwali, or Deepavali, as it is known to some, marks the most important date on the calendar of Hindus all over the world. It is also one of the biggest and most widely celebrated religious occasion.Diwali In Singapore, What Is Diwali, Diwali Fun Facts, Holidays In Singapore, Festivals In Singapore, Cultural Awareness, What Is Diwali, Light Festival Diwali,
Across many regions, Diwali takes place over the course of five days and it represents the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. As part of the festivities, families decorate their floors with kolam or rangoli and light oil lamps to symbolized inner enlightenment which protects them from spiritual darkness.
In fact, there is more to this Indian Festival of Lights than just the pretty lights, bright colours, good food and beautiful sarees. Here are 14 interesting things you did not know about this dazzling light festival.
#1 CELEBRATED IN HONOUR OF LAKSHMI, THE HINDU GODDESS OF WEALTH AND PROSPERITY
In the Hindu faith, Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity and she symbolizes good luck. It is widely believed that Diwali is the day on which Lakshimi would roam the Earth and bless people with wealth.
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#2 CELEBRATED ON THE 15TH DAY OF THE HINDU MONTH OF KARTIKA
According to India’s official holiday calendar, Diwali in 2018 will be on 07 November which coincides with the 15th day of Kartika, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar. Known as the festival of lights, Diwali marks the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
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#3 CELEBRATIONS USED TO TAKE PLACE AT HIGH STREET
Located in the Downtown Core, High Street used to be lighted up in festive lights every Diwali. This is because it is home to Sindhi and Sikh jewellers and textile merchants who once ran their businesses there back in the early 1900s.
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#4 FINAL DAY OF DEEPAVALI IS KNOWN AS BHAI DOOJ
The final day of Diwali is celebrated as Bhai Dooj and brothers and sisters meet to express their love and affection for each other.
On this day, brothers would visit their sisters and perform a tilak ceremony where their sisters would apply rice and vermilion on the brother’s forehead that symbolises good health and fortune.
Photo Credit: thelotusshakti
#5 FLORAL DRAWINGS ON FLOORS OF HINDU HOMES CREATED USING COLOURED RICE FLOUR
Kolam or Rangoli is a form of drawing that is drawn by using rice flour, chalk or rock powders which is made as a visual form of prayer to welcome deities into homes and ask for blessings. Some also believe that the Kolam or Rangoli stops evil from entering homes.
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#6 HINDU TEMPLES WERE THE CENTRAL SPACE FOR CONGREGATION OF INDIAN PIONEERS
Back in the days, whether they were labourers or civil servants, Hindus temples were the place to visit when it comes to the Indian community’s festive celebrations, especially on the morning of Deepavali.
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#7 INDIAN PERFORMING ARTS
Held during the festive period of Diwali, the Kalaa Utsavam is an annual arts festival that celebrates the Indian arts. This 10-day arts festival presents an exciting line-up of classical and contemporary performances by Indian artists from Singapore and beyond.
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#8 INDIAN SWEETS ARE MILK-BASED AND GHEE-BASED
Traditional Indian sweets are mostly milk and nut-based which comes in a wide assortment such as burfi (milk-based sweets), laadu (flour and ghee-based balls) and jalebi (deep-fried flour batter coated in syrup), achu murukku (sweet crunchy snack made from rice flour and coconut milk) and kesari (semolina pudding).
#9 MARKS THE RETURN OF LORD RAM AND SITA
Diwali is primarily celebrated to mark the return of Hindu God, Lord Ram, and his wife, Sita, to their kingdom of Ayodhya after being exiled for 14 years following the defeat of demon king, Ravanna.
To celebrate, the people of Ayodhya illuminated the city with fireworks and diyas (light candles) to welcome them and celebrate their victory.
Photo Credit: kurudimath
#10 NOT THE CELEBRATION OF THE INDIAN NEW YEAR
Deepavali is not a celebration of the Indian New Year and the Indian New Year actually falls in April.
In fact, Diwali is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness in several stories from Hindu mythology and ancient literature.
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#11 OIL BATHS DURING DIWALI CELEBRATIONS
During Diwali or the fourth day of Diwali, the oil bath ritual is practiced in getting rid of dirt and evil and those who do perform the oil bath will be blessed with wealth and prosperity. The traditional method of taking an oil bath is massaging sesame oil or coconut oil all over the body.
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#12 SAREES ARE THE LONGEST PIECES OF GARMENTS IN THE WORLD
Sarees are a traditional Indian costume and worn by numerous Indian women during Diwali. Measuring between 4.5 metres to 8 metres in length, sarees come in multifarious weaves, textures and colours.
Photo Credit: rocky2j13
#13 TAKES PLACE OVER 5 DAYS
Diwali stretches for 5 days and every day has its own significance and importance, with each day dedicated to a different deity.
Dhanteras is the first day of Diwali and it is an auspicious day for purchasing utensils and gold. The second day of Diwali is called Narak Chaturdasi and it signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Lakshmi Puja is the third day of Diwali and it marks the most important day of Diwali celebrations where Hindu homes light lamps and burst crackers to welcome prosperity. Govardhan Puja is the fourth day of Diwali and it is when people worship their instruments, arms and machinery. The fifth day of Diwali is celebrated as Bhai Dooj, and brothers and sisters meet to express love and affection for one another.
Photo Credit: ron_kuks
#14 WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY DURING DEEPAVALI
‘Shubh Diwali’ or ‘Shubh Deepavali’ means ‘have an auspicious Deepavali’ and it is the greeting exchanged during the festive time. Happy Diwali is fine too but why not use this chance to show off your cultural awareness?