Day 22: Do you have holidays, or holy days? Which is the most important to you? If not, please create one.
I learned about Diwali from my Indian friend, Hemant Khurana (Happy.) In fact, I’ve learned more about Hindu culture and celebrations from Hemant than anyone. His blog is called Love & Life (Experience the Magic of Love & Mysteries of Life thru my eyes). He offers detailed posts about India, about anything from Bollywood to Holy Festivals. Diwali is the Festival of Lights, and is celebrated throughout India. The date is tied to the New Moon of the harvest season, (October and November,) It celebrates the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravani — good over evil.
Diwali is an occasion of great celebration in India — people light their homes and gardens and streets and cities and country with diyas (oil lamps) — I will be looking at Google Maps next year to see if I can discern the lights. It is a New Year festival, and a celebration of rejuvenation. People dress up in new clothes and have happy gatherings of friends and family. I’m not going any further with the description, as you will understand better from Hemant. He has included many photos, and some videos as well as writing about the festival and its significance for different people in different parts of India.
I choose this as my favorite, because of the emphasis on renewal and reawakening; because I love the idea of putting diyas (oil lamps) everywhere and celebrating with the glory of light. I especially love how colorful and vibrant this festival appears, from photos I’ve seen. To me, it would be like taking the excitement and color of Mardi Gras or Carnival, without the debauchery and nudity, only far more serious a happy festival than Mardi Gras ever hoped to be. Please, visit Hemant and read this post, look at the photos, watch the videos, (remember, the beautiful young man in the final video is an actual god to his people,) and think of how wonderful it would be to celebrate a festival like this one. Thanks so much, Hemant!