Diwali 2012 – Deepavali 2012
Deepavali the Festival of Light
Deepavali is another name for the famous Hindu festival Diwali. This is a combination of two names, Dipa, which means lamp and Awali, which means row or line. So in essence, this festival is referred to as the festival of the row of lights. It is indeed essential in that it marks the beginning of the Hindu year. It is widely celebrated in India and elsewhere in the world, wherever Hindus can be found. It is marked by exploding lights, fireworks and so forth. After all, it is the festival of lights. Just why is the festival so colorful? Hindus celebrate it to mark the triumph of light over darkness. In Sanskrit, light means good and darkness means evil. Therefore, this is a celebration of good overcoming evil. During this celebration, all Hindu families light up little lanterns in their homes to welcome the New Year. It is a very important event to them.
The history of Deepavali
Like most other important events in the Hindu calendar, the origin of Deepavali is deeply rooted in legend from the Hindu scriptures. It is based in the Puranas. There are several legends to explain how this colorful event started. This is a five-day festival where sweets are exhanged and the lights go up. In the streets of most cities in the world where there are Hindu communities, firecrackers rule the day.
The Indians and Nepalese believe that the origin of Deepavali is rooted on the return of Rama to Ayodha. It is believed that after Rama triumphed over Ravana and returned to ayodha with Lakshman and Sita after 14 years of exile in the forest, he or rather they, were greeted and welcomed by the lighting of lamps. That is where the event started and so every year, lamps are lit to signify that yet again, good has overcome bad.
There is more to the origin and legend behind this, because every day of the festival has its own story. For example, Hindus believe that on the second day of the festival, which is also called Narak Chaturdasi, Lord Krishna destroyed Narakasur the demon and liberated the world from a rule of terror from this horrible demon. However, the third day of the festival is perhaps the most important and it is the real Deepavali day because this is when the Hindus worship Mother Lakshmi. All the other days have their significance in this festival and in fact, it is a tourist attraction in India today. Many people go there to witness the cerebrations and the fact that it occurs after the Monsoon season, the weather is very favorable then.
The significance of Deepavali
Make no doubt about the Deepavali, the festival of the lights and candles in India because it is celebrated everywhere in the world. It is a very important holiday, and it is the most important in India. No other festival can beat it, and even though Holi, the festival of color comes close, it is still nowhere close to this one. Thanks to the Hindu believe and adherence to their scriptures the world over, this festival has continually gained recognition the world over and in fact it grows in magnitude every year. It is the duty of every Hindu follower to uphold this festival and other Hindu traditions wherever they are in the world. That is also about lights where oil lamps with burners at the end are lit in all Hindu homes. It makes it hard to miss even in towns dominated by other communities. Five full days of generosity and happiness are hard to miss anywhere.
When Is Diwali 2012 / Deepavali 2012?
Deepavali 2012 / Diwali 2012 Date
The first day of Deepavali 2012 / Diwali 2012 falls on Sunday, 11 November 2012. Some countries, like India, will celebrate Diwali for 5 days, which will be from Sunday, 11 November 2012 to Thursday, 15 November 2012.
Diwali 2012 / Deepavali 2012 in India
So, now that we know the significance of this holiday in the Hindu calendar, when is it going to be celebrated in 2012? It falls on November 11th. One important thing to note here is that the beginning of the festivals may differ a bit every year depending on the Hindu calendar. Diwali 2012 is a major public holidays in India and celebrated nationally. However, whenever the festival falls, it is celebrated with energy and gusto. In 2011, the Diwali festival was celebrated in October, starting 26. This year, the first day of the festival falls on a Sunday and therefore in India, where the festivals will run for a straight 5 days, the celebrations will start Sunday through Thursday.
Just what comprises Deepavali? Well, the first day is called Dhanteras, the second day is Choti Diwali and the third day is Lakshmi Puja Badi Diwali. Padwa and Bhaiduj are the fourth and fifth days respectively. Part of the tradition is that days before the onset of the celebrations, people clean their houses. When the celebrations start, everyone wears new clothes. Sweets and gifts are exchanged and fires and firecrackers are lit. Then people have festive meals around a bonfire where applicable.
Lakshmi, the Goddess who gives prosperity and wealth is worshipped on the third day of the celebrations and in the beginning of the festival; her statue is carried in a procession on the streets. The God Ganesha also plays an important role in the celebrations since he is worshiped as the Lord of the new beginning, the remover of all obstacles for the year ahead.
The lamps are made of clay and the fuel is usually butter, coconut or mustard oil. The little lamps are placed in the doorways and all over the house. This makes a very colorful spectacle at night.
Diwali 2012 / Deepavali 2012 in Singapore
It falls on November 13. It is marked as a Public Holiday in Singapore and the Indian and Hindu communities will light lamps and candles, place them in their doorways and decorate their doors with very colorful arches. Serangoon Road, which falls within the Indian Community in Singapore will be very colorful, with children flocking the open areas. Everyone wears new clothes, gifts will be exchanged and sweets shared. This holiday has a lot of significabnnce anywhere in the world. In Singapore, this festival is hard to miss even for people from other religions and communities especially because it is a national holiday, not forgetting that it is very colorful.
Diwali 2012 / Deepavali 2012 in Malaysia
There are many Indians and Hindus in Malaysia and this is why the Deepavali is a national holiday there. It is a very big celebration there, perhaps bigger than even the Singaporean one. It is marked with festivities and grandeur. The Indians in Malaysia invite the Chinese to their homes to celebrate with them. Everyone goes to pay respect to their elders, bearing gifts. It is a festival of pomp, glamour and high expectations for the year ahead. Like in many other countries, the festival is very hard to miss, perhaps because of the jovial mood and the lights.
The first day of the festival is very important. It is when the people eat a special breakfast made up of different dishes, do oil baths and then go to the temple for prayers. In a country where the population is 8% Indian and Hindu, this is a very important day even to the nation’s calendar and it is used to market the country by the tourism sector.
Now, wherever you find a Hindu or Indian Community, you will be sure to witness Deepavali celebrations. The Indians have settled far and wide. They are in Africa, America, Caribbean, South America and many other places. Even in the midst of other cultures, Diwali time is candle and lamp lighting time and it is very important to an Indian. It is the festival of the lights, of great importance. This festival holds the Indian communities together, wherever they may be in the world.
There are no big differences on what happens during the Deepavali celebrations. Mostly, many examples are based on India because it is where the tradition starts. Even in the Diaspora, the procedures are just the same but the difference is that the celebrations do not run for a full five days. The festival is preceded by the cleaning of houses. The significance of this action is to ward off bad luck for the coming year. Even though the decorations may differ, you can comfortably say that external cultures and traditions have not warded off the importance of this festival.
Many Hindus go home to India then but this is waning away with time. For example, since many Indians are now born in the Diaspora, the notion of India being home may lose significance in future and therefore many people just prefer to hold the celebrations wherever they are. However, many airlines even give specials when the Deepavali celebrations come close because many people take this opportunity to go back to their mother countries and catch up with the people there.
Deepavali in future
What is the future of Deepavali? What is the future of Independence Day? The truth is that this festival will never go away. In fact, it will only get better with time because Hindus love their culture and they uphold it wherever they may be, in any part of the world. Though the festivities are very remarkable in India, running for a full five days, they may not be as long in other countries but they are very notable.
This year, Deepavali anywhere in the world will be just as great as it has been in the past. To all Hindu brothers and sisters, we wish them a happy Diwali.
Diwali 2012 / Deepavali 2012 Travel Deals
Do expect heavy travelling during and around Deepavali 2012 in the countries that observe the festival. Try to find best deals from multiple sources, including online hotel booking and ticket search.
Happy Diwali 2012 ! Happy Deepavali 2012 !