Indian American thoughts on coming Deepavali

Suresh Rao
Suresh Rao / 2 yrs ago /
  34

Different colorful skylanterns lit on the occasion of Diwali festival in India

In Hindu tradition "Deepavali" (Sanskrit: दीपावली Dīpāvalī), translates into "row of lighted lamps." Diwali or Divali are also names used for the same festival; shortened labels (Diwali, Divali) are commonly used by many Indians. Whether one is originally from northern or southern india for all Hindus this festival is an important one since it has both religious as well as cultural significance dating back in time to Hindu spiritual history written in Hindu epics like Mahabharata & Ramayana.

What is even more important today is this particular festival brings bonding, strenghtens bonhomie among friends as well as family since this festival is widely accepted and observed in many parts of India. Grand parents, parents, children all can join in and feel at home celebrating this 'festival of lights'.

Many Hindus believe observance of Deepavali brings happy thoughts and goodwill among friends and family. In India “Deepavali” starts with lighting of small lamps (dīpa in Sanskrit: दीप) made of clay or pottery filled with oil to signify removal of darkness in your home as well as your mind. Many Hindus consider lighting of lamps as triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept lit during the night.

In India Firecrackers are burst in order to drive away evil spirits. During ‘Deepavali' celebrants like to wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.

Deepavali in America Many Hindus living in America celebrate “Deepavali”(Diwali/ Divali.) They like to remember the way their parents & grandparents celebrated Deepavali in India. Traditional way of observance in America in such families is no different from the way their family and friends observe the festival in India. However, traditional clay/pottery oil lamps (diyas) are not available from shops in America. Many Hindu Americans use decorative electric lamps (like the ones used during Christmas) to decorate their house and Hindu temples. Hindu temple lighting that begins from “Deepavali” continues through the month of Kartik(a)”

 Rangoli Art by Indian American youth at a Deepavali festival in Cupertino California

Calendar

Tue

Nov 13

2012

Deepavali / Diwali

Observance

 
           
           
           

Wearing new clothes, exchanging packets of sweets, dry fruits, nuts or fruit baskets among family & friends is common.

Hindus who believe in their tradition worship at a home altar or sponsor pooja for lord Ganesh (remover of obstacles in life) and goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth.) They go and visit a hindu temple if within driving distance on this day or do pooja in their own homes.

Like their brothers & sisters in India Hindu businessmen in America believe that Deepavali is a very auspicious day that brings them good luck and so new products may be released on this day, new projects may be started, special Diwali sales may be going on in some Indian shops. Buying new car or moving into a new home are all considered auspicious with celebration of Deepavali (the day after Amavasya or moonless night.)

Significance  of  Deepavali

Many hindus believe that Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, feels welcome in a well lit home. For traditional hindus many of whom believe in puranas and spiritual history of their ancient past... Deepavali commemorates with the return of Lord Rama (7th Avatar of Vishnu in Tretayuga) on the 15th day of the hindu month of Kartik(a) along with Sita and Lakshmana, from fourteen-year-long exile and vanquishing of demon-king Ravana. They consider Deepavali is the joyous celebration to commemorate return of Rama, to Ayodhya, the capital of Raghuvamshi rajas of that time.

Many traditional Hindus associate Naraka-chaturdashi (14th night/amavasya/moonless-night) which is the night before Deepavali, in Kartik(a) month of  hindu traditional calendar as the night Lord Krishna (9th Avatar of Vishnu in Dwaparayuga) liberated the world from evil by killing demon-king Narakasura.

Naraka-chaturdasi & Deepavali therefore are night & day celebrations with lighting up of lamps & bursting Firecrackers to signify Lord Krishna’s victory over demon king Narakasura as well as return of Lord Rama to Ayudhya although in different yugas (millennia.)

Upanishad: Om Asato maa sad-gamaya; tamaso maa jyotir-ga-maya; mrtyor-maa  amrutam gamaya. Om Shaantih  Shaantih Shaantihi   {Sanskrit  invocation  from  the  Brihadaranyaka  Upanishads 1.3.28} (Spirit of Deepavali)

O Lord Lead me from unreal to the real. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to immortality. May there be peace, peace, and perfect peace.

 

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BELOW is a link to celebrations in South Brunswick NJ  USA >

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/10/south_brunswick_schools_observ.html

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What American Media say on Hindu Festival of Deepavali (visit links)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/diwali-hindu-festival-of-lights-america_n_1031492.html

 

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http://acelebrationofwomen.org/2012/11/diwali-celebrating-november-13-2012/

 

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http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/diwali

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DIWALI GREETINGS (vidoe clip from a prior year) by President Obama @

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edwfv2kreUs

 DIWALI @ WHITE HOUSE

http://rivr.sulekha.com/diwali-celebrated-at-white-house-on-november-13_596170_blog





Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

Sunita greets Indians on Diwali quoting lines from upanishad.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sunita-williams-greets-indians-from-space-on-diwali/article4093134.ece?homepage=true


Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

On Wednesday (Nov-14,) South Brusnwick district of New Jersey will become only the second in the state to close for the Hindu celebration of Diwali.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/10/south_brunswick_schools_observ.html

School board message to all hindu communities says, "we recognize you and we value you," (said Gary McCartney, South Brunswick’s school superintendent.)

Of the approximately 9,100 students in the township’s 12 schools, McCartney said, about one-third are of Indian descent and many are of the Hindu faith.

Passaic is the only other district in the state that closes school for Diwali, the festival of lights.

"It is a very important Hindu holiday," South Brunswick school board member Deven Patel said. Born in India, he was elected in April, months after board members had set the school calendar.


Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

Ratan Datta

Thanks for dropping by. Appreciate your comment. Happy Deepavali to you & family.


Ratan Datta / / 2 yrs ago
Ratan Datta

Dear Mr.Rao,

It was a nice blog to read. I believe we have forgotten the reasons lighting the "diyas" .Electricity is not the only reason. The made inb China Christmas lights are cheap and convenient. We do use some but . But Diyas are must .

We must light 14 Diyas on Chaturdashi. We light Diyas even on Deepavali day.I believe lighting Diyas is ahard work and supervision. Old days ,joint families have many to do this. Now, people like to switch on the lights and go for the Deepavali party
Chaturdashi is important , diyas are a must - minimum 14 of them.

Wish you all a VERY HAPPY DEEPAVALI .

God bless.

R.K.Datta


Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

Thanks Raghava ji

Wish you, family Happy Deepavali. Keep us informed. As a septuagenarian I feel that engaging with the virtual world keeps ones intellect sharp. One must also do ones daily walking and simple physical exercises to stay healthy! Healthy mind in a healthy body is my goal!


Raghava Reddy / / 2 yrs ago
Raghava Reddy

MYy dear Suresh Rao.
Sorry fo delay.
Iadmire your style of narration.Lucid and words well couched to convey the nessage eloquently.
Enjoyed the reading about the snacks and sweets.


Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

Thanks Geetha

I am glad you like my blog. Happy Deepavali to you and family, regards, Suresh


GEET / / 2 yrs ago
GEET

Lovely blog, Suresh ji! Thank you!

Here's wishing you and your family a very happy Deepavali!

Regards,

Geetha


Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

Seva Thanks; Happy Diwali to You, family and friends.


seva-lamberdar / / 2 yrs ago
seva-lamberdar

Dear Suresh,

Happy Diwali to you and your family too.

Lamberdar


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