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Diwali, the legendary Indian festival of lights, is one of the heritage of Hindi culture, with origins that even see legendary figures such as Rama and the Sikh guru Hargobind Sahib Ji as protagonists.
Diwali, the festival of return
Celebrated throughout the Indian Subcontinent, the festival falls in the month of Kartik (between October and November) and lasts 5 days, each dedicated to specific activities but all connected with light. There are several myths related to this festival, but the two best known both have “return” as a central theme, which leads to imagine a common origin, most likely linked to nature.
According to the Hindi myth, Diwali would be linked to Rama and his legendary enterprise to free his wife Sita, captured by Ravana, a mythical demon with 10 heads who dominated Sri Lanka. To save her, the hero, thanks to the help of Hanuman, a monkey-like spirit, will build a bridge to connect the land and the island, then returning home as a winner and bringing the inhabitants to light the Diwali lamps. According to the Sikhs, however, it celebrates the return of the guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, first prisoner in the court of the Mughal emperor.
I primi 3 giorni
As already mentioned, it is very likely that the party is linked to some natural event, especially the monsoons, which at that time cease to haunt the Indian hinterland, finally allowing the inhabitants to come out of their homes with candles. This is undoubtedly the symbol of Diwali, so much so that it is dominant from the first day of the celebrations, that is the Dhanteras, the day in which the houses are cleaned, new objects are bought and the diyas are installed, special lamps that will burn for everyone. and 5 days. The second day, or Naraka Chaturdashi, is dedicated to the purification of the soul, in view of the most important day: Lakshmi Pujan.
This day represents the culmination of the party, the moment in which it is mandatory to celebrate and share this festival of light with the rest of relatives and neighbors; precisely for this reason, it is the date on which temples and houses usually put out their lamps, moreover the night is enriched by fireworks, thus completing the triumph over darkness. Most Indians dedicate this time to the celebration of the goddess Lakshmi, but there are also peoples who link her to the goddess Kali.
The festival of couples
The 4th day is called Balitprada and is instead dedicated to couples; in fact it seems that the goddess Parvati has challenged her husband Shiva to dice on this day, triumphing. In general, however, this moment symbolizes the definitive end of the monsoons and the renewal it generates.
The last day is called Bhai Duj, or “brother’s day”, and is dedicated to the relationship between brothers and sisters, one of the essential keys of every family. Not all Indian states see Diwali as the actual start of the new year, however, all tend to consider the holiday as a real triumph of light over darkness, a concept very similar to that of the New Year.
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