This year, Deepavali or Diwali, commonly known as the “festival of lights” will be celebrated on the 26th October. Deepavali in Sanskrit translates as “row of lights”. For Hindus, it is one of the most important festivals of the year, but also has significance in Jainism and Sikhism. The story behind Deepavali and manner of celebration varies from region to region, but the festival generally involves festive fireworks, worship, lights, and food!
The significance of Deepavali is the victory of good forces over evil; the lighting of lamps is symbolic of this celebration and the hope for a bright and prosperous future. There are several significant events associated with the festival; the vanquishing of the demon Narahasaran by Lord Krishna, the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and the celebration of the return of Lord Rama after 14years of banishment.
Not only is Deepavali another opportunity to have fun, play with sparklers, and eat as much as you can, it is importantly a festival that brings all nationalities, races and religions together in global celebration. While the celebration of Deepavali in Sri Lanka may seem a bit more low-key, especially in comparison to in India, the emphasis for me personally is not so much on fireworks and lighting lamps, but on spending time with family. Deepavali marks a new beginning, a renewal of commitment to family values, and represents all the good virtues we seek such as love, reflection, forgiveness and knowledge.