A summary of Divali in Kingswood by Dr Brijesh and Dr Anjana Patel
Diwali is a five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories, there is a common belief that it represents the festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
For example, many Hindu’s believe that the festival marks return of Lord Rama with his wife Sita after defeating the demon king Ravana and that small oil lamps known as diyas were lit to guide them back home. Hence the word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali”, meaning “row or series of lights” and traditionally diyas are lit on the streets and in houses to symbolise these events.
This year Diwali starts on Thursday 12 November with the main day of celebrations taking place on Saturday 14 November. This third day marks the darkest night of the lunar month and many Hindus worship the goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of health, wealth and prosperity, to bless the new year.
The festival is an annual homecoming and bonding period not only for families, but also for communities and associations. Typically, families would partake in feasts and events would be organised across the communities. Although, with the current restrictions such festivities are not possible, through technology we are still able to meet family and friends online. The benefit of such technology is that we are able to connect across several time zones and to reconnect with those that once seemed far away.
As you go around Kingswood you will see some houses illuminated with lamps – we hope these bring a glow of happiness to your face and to radiate your lives with good health, wealth and prosperity. As stated by our Prime minister this week “Just as Lord Rama and his wife Sita found their way home after the defeat of the demon king Ravana, their way lit by millions of lamps, so too shall we find our way through this [pandemic], and we shall do so triumphantly”.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Diwali!