By Remitbee - Nov 1, 2021
Diwali is celebrated by many Canadians as the "Festival of Lights”. It is a joyful celebration in Canada that is popular among Canadians and Indians. This year, Diwali will begin on November 4 and feature dances, street lighting, and plays.
Diwali is celebrated to honour Ramachandra, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu. Lord Rama is said to have returned on this day after 14 years as an outcast, during which he fought and dispelled the evil spirits and the devil ruler Ravana. Thus, this is a celebration of his triumph over evil, darkness, and hopelessness.
Diwali is a festival celebrated not just in Canada and India but by people all over the world. Every year, Diwali is observed by many community groups. You can celebrate the festival at home, in mandirs or local temples, community centers, and even online.
The Five Days of Diwali
On the first day, people will clean the house, perform puja or pooja, place lights around their balconies or entrances, and go shopping to buy kitchen utensils which are believed to bring good fortune.
On the second day, many will pay visits to friends and relatives and bring sweets as gifts. Some will send cards to their loved ones who are unable to join with them in person. People will also decorate the flooring of their homes with Rangolis.
The third day of the festival is usually the busiest, with visits to the elders, prayers, fireworks, family feasts, and the day for worshiping Lakshmi. Families will dress up and come together for prayer in her honour.
The fourth is a celebration of the husband-and-wife relationship. Lord Krishna and the Gujarati new year are also associated with this day. For Puja ceremonies, people will prepare food offerings.
The final day is dedicated to honouring the sibling relationship. Traditionally, brothers will pay their sisters visits and bring gifts.
Diwali is celebrated by communities in Canada and around the world. Although each community celebrates different historical events and legends, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists celebrate Diwali.
The Hindu lunar calendar, which marks each month by the time it takes the moon to orbit Earth, is used to set the Diwali’s date. The festival usually takes place soon before the new moon between the Hindu months of Asvina and Kartika.
The Ramayana, a Hindu epic, is one of the most renowned Diwali legends. Many Hindus celebrate Diwali as a day honouring the 14-year exile of Prince Rama of Ayodhya, his wife Sita, and brother Lakshman.
Sita is an incarnation of Lakshmi, while Prince Rama is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and an embodiment of dharma or virtue. The people of Ayodhya were happy to see their beloved Prince return, and they kindled lamps in his honour. The entire city was filled with lights as a result - that’s where the name came from.
Most Hindus begin the celebration by cleaning their houses and surroundings. Cleanliness is thought to bring Goddess Lakshmi into your life. Lights, rangoli art, and other festive decorations will be seen at homes and streets.
Diwali is a Sikh festival celebrating the release of the Sixth Guru, Hargobind Singh, who was one of their spiritual leaders. Lights were lit all the way to the Golden Temple in his honour, welcoming his return.
For Jains, Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankaras (great teachers of Jain dharma), attained moksha or enlightenment/nirvana on Diwali day.
Buddhists, especially newer Buddhists, celebrate Diwali as Ashok Vijayadashami. It was the day when the great Emperor Ashoka embraced Buddhism as his faith.
Diwali is most likely the only Hindu celebration you've heard of. To celebrate Diwali, many women dress up in pretty jewelry and silk clothing. Some ladies and girls use mehendi, which is temporary henna on their palms. Lights, candles, and sparklers are ignited inside and outside homes on Diwali.
Diwali celebrants in Canada also have alternative ways to celebrate the festival this upcoming November. Music and dancing videos, virtual painting classes, and fireworks are now available online as part of the festivities.
Though putting up a lot of lights isn't the only way to celebrate Diwali. Many Diwali celebrations include a variety of sweets, savoury dishes, and herbs. Foods served during the festival are mainly Indian sweets and other snacks such as Bhaji, Idli, Chivda, and many more!
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