Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Triumph of Good over Evil - With Videos

Primarily (in most legends) Diwali is the celebration of good triumphing over evil. There are several cultures within India that share different stories but this concept seems to be the main theme to all of them.


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It's early origins are in the Ramayana and are the celebration of the return of Rama after defeating Ravana (the holiday known as Dussehra). It is said that upon Rama's return home the residents lit small diyas to celebrate his return and light up the city. The other stories of Diwali can be found in the 2 links at the bottom of this post. Decorations also evolved to include rangoli powder in addition to the lights for several of the stories.

Today people decorate their homes with strings of lights, small diyas and intricate rangoli designs. Whole cities in India light up. Last year in Amritsar hubby and I rode through the streets to see the lights. Typically the lights were long strings that were hanging down from the terrace or roof of the houses. Most houses had strings every 1-2 feet apart across the entire face of the house. This was the most common method for hanging lights.

A few houses had one string of lights across the terrace, a few others had lights across more than just the terrace and only a few houses had no lights at all. The mayor's house had strands of lights hanging from the terrace and lining the fence around his courtyard. His house was bright and beautiful! It made for a nice entrance into our neighborhood because you could see it from the main road and part of our trip home involved driving directly toward it.

At our house we decorated the terrace, had lights dangling down the front of the house and we set out the small diyas. We set off crackers (fireworks) and hubby and I had a grand time. It was fun playing around and goofing off. Most of the neighbors were setting off their own fireworks and the sky was lit up more than I've ever seen. I posted a video so you can hopefully get a little idea of how much fireworks are set off just in our area.


I also had 2 other videos where I'm not going in a circle to show you how the whole neighborhood was covered.

Part 1

Part 2

You will likely never see this much fireworks in one place in the US. Here you can't just go out and buy them, there are limits on what can be sold and where it can be shot off. Many of the fireworks available in India are considered illegal for individuals to ignite at home here. I'm glad I got to be a part of this celebration just once - even if the little bombs going off in the road were way too loud. Those of you who have never been to India and are planning a trip, be forewarned, Indian fireworks are extremely loud. I recommend you carry ear plugs with you as I never succeeded in finding any while I was there.

This year I'm celebrating Diwali here in the US. I've put candles in my windows that burn through the night. I will take them down after the celebration is over. I've got red Christmas lights all over the house and I'll be preparing special food for my family. How are you celebrating?

For more information about Diwali, visit these links:
The Holiday Spot: History of Diwali
Diwali Festival: Diwali in History

2 comments:

  1. Oh yeah loud is definitely the word :-) they would be illegal in Switzerland too, this year is the first year I suffered some ear pain from them, next year I'll break the ear plugs, because while thankfully I don't seem to have suffered hearing loss, 2 days after the main cracker bursting day I can still feel some jab of pain, in my ears, it's much milder now than it was going to bed on Tuesday, but still a bit uncomfy at time.

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