Diwali

Valencia Meredith - India


November 18, 2016

DIWALI FESTIVAL
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Two weeks ago, India’s Diwali celebration came to an end. During this 5 day Festival of Lights, India is in a craze. People are buying new clothes (or wearing their old, but really nice outfits), lighting firecrackers, placing candles around their home, creating Rangoli, making amazing snacks and cleaning their houses.
Diwali is a festival celebrated by Jains, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhist, but because I live with a Hindu family, I will be focusing on Hindu Gods.
As I already mentioned before, Diwali is a 5 day celebration, so I will explain each day (with pictures).
Day 1- Dhanteras
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(families doing puja on the cow and her calf)
On the first day of Diwali, Hindus celebrate the mother cow and her calf. The reasoning behind this is that according to Hinduism, the mother cow holds 33,000 gods and her stomach. So, you will see people doing puja on the cow and give her and her calf offerings (chapatti, money, etc).
Day 2- Choti Diwali
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According to Hindu text, on this day, a demon, Narakasura, was defeated by lord Krishna. Many families wake up very early to do task or chores. Some fellows had to wake up very early on this day to take a shower (luckily I wasn’t one of those people).
Day 3- Lakshmi Puja
 
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(Host family’s altar after worship) 
The third day is the biggest of them ALL. It’s the celebration of goddess Laxmi- the goddess of wealth. This is the day everyone dress in their best attire, clean their houses to the point that their fingers bleed, and stock up on snacks. At night, if you look through the windows of Hindu families, you will see everyone in the family gather around to worship goddess Laxmi. After praying, some families may visit their neighbors and bring them sweets (very good sweets might I add). This day definitely goes out with a bang… And another bang… And another bang (there are a lot of firecrackers).
Day 4- Padwa
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The fourth day is the celebration of marriage. I did not see much this day, so I will leave a photo of my host parents.
Day 5- Bhai Duj
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(My host brothers’ little sister (cousin) doing puja on the first cousins)
The fifth and final day is the celebration of brothers and sisters. When we think of brothers and sisters we think of our actually brothers and sisters, but Indians (or at least my family) consider their cousins as their brother and sisters as well. So, on this day you will see brother, sisters and cousins celebrate the bond they have between one another.

 

Valencia Meredith