Diwali, the festival of
lights, is one of the important and widely spread holidays celebrated in
India. It is a celebration of lights, and for many, it is truly a sensory
experience; some families decorate their houses with all sorts of lights and
open up to the neighbors, sharing their love and their food.
Those celebrating Diwali spend time with family and friends. They perform
religious ceremonies to bring in wealth and prosperity for a new year, cook
and eat delicious food, design rangolis, light up their lives by lighting
diyas (small earthen lamps), candles and sometimes, by lighting fireworks.
Diwali is celebrated in honor of the lord Rama, who on this day returned
from a forest exile. Diwali is actually the middle day in a five-day
festival that rings in the Hindu New Year. For Diwali, I go to festivals and
hold pooja at my house.
The five days of Diwali
...by Manish Chawla; Age 12
Diwali is the most important festival celebrated in India. Diwali or
Deepawali means an array of lights. It is a festival of lights symbolizing
victory of good over evil and the glory of light. Diwali is celebrated as
the day that Lord Rama returned to Ayoda after defeating Ravana. Diwali also
signifies Harvest Festival.
Another legend is Naraksura, a monster who was a troublemaker to the gods.
Lord Krishna and Satyabama killed the demon. Diwali is celebrated in five
days. The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras.
The second day is called Narak Chatardasi. On this day Lord Krishna
destroyed the demon and made the world free from fear. The third day is
called Diwali. Lakshmi puja is performed on this day. All homes are
decorated and lit up by Diyas.
The fourth day is called New Year of Bestavarsh. The fifth day is called
Bhai Dhooj. It is about brothers and sisters. Diwali is a time for fun and
joy. On Diwali kids light firecrackers and everyone enjoys.
Diwali in the Modern World
...by Kedar Mahagaokar; Age 9
A growing number of scholars and people debate the need and justification
of using fire crackers to celebrate Diwali for a number of reasons. One is
the amount of money that goes into flames every year in the name of
celebrations towards the purchase of firecrackers . Secondly, many companies
that are engaged in the manufacturing of these fire crackers said to employ
child labor and hardly follow the safety rules or welfare measures. Thirdly,
there is hardly any control on the quality of the fire crackers manufactured
by these companies, which often results in injuries and deaths due to
accidents or poor performance. Fourthly, it is not uncommon to see
irresponsible youth in various parts of India using firecrackers to tease
women and trouble helpless people in streets and public places. Fifthly,
excessive use of fire crackers often lead to communal clashes and social
tensions. It also exposes the children of poor families to a lot of despair
and loss of self esteem when they see other children playing with them.
Lastly the firecrackers are a source of pollution, although on the positive
side people claim that the smoke and smell drive away the insects and clear
Some of the points mentioned above are worth examining because they are
valid points and genuine concerns. For a moment if we can separate emotion
and prejudice and take a closer look at this issue objectively, it makes
sense to argue that by minimizing the money on firecrackers, or at least by
avoiding the use of more dangerous, noisy and polluting ones, it is worth
spending the amount so saved for some good cause that leads to some long
term positive social or religious benefit to the community as a whole. For
example, it may be a good idea to donate some money by every family during
Diwali to some social or religious institution, which is engaged in some
philanthropic activity or helping the poor Hindu brethren.
Readers are requested to note that these observations are in reference to
the use of all or certain fire crackers and not to the observation of Diwali
as a festival. By all means Diwali is a festival of lights and deserves full
scale ceremonial observation and celebration. The question is whether we
should use fire crackers on this occasion on such massive scale and invite
trouble to ourselves and our environment.
The true celebration of Diwali is when we light a lamp in the life of some
poor brethren or bring some cheer into the heart of an innocent child
through our kindness and generosity. Goddess Lakshmi would be truly pleased
if we share our wealth and happiness in some meaningful and selfless way,
something that sets us apart from the nature of demons who try to use wealth
like Bali for their own selfish and evil ends. Wealth is truly divine and
remains in its purest divine aspect only when it is spent for a good cause
that promotes the spiritual well beings oneself and others.
Those who know the goddess well know that she is mighty pleased when her
energies are in circulation for a right and just cause. In this modern
world, let us therefore celebrate Diwali as an auspicious and God sent
opportunity to bring cheer and happiness in a world oppressed by the
darkness of egoism, greed, vanity and selfishness.