Happy Diwali everyone!
Deepavali, celebrated today in many countries all over the world, marks the start of the Hindu New Year. It means “Spreading of Light” in Sanskrit and celebrates the battle of good over evil. The rituals vary from region to region but everyone comes together to rejoice in the light.
During this celebration, people pray for prosperity and wisdom, allowing light to enter their hearts. They also pray for the strength to overcome obstacles and make darkness disappear from their lives.
It is traditional for Diwali – and Deepavali – Melas to be held throughout India, fairs in which food and gifts are sold to be exchanged with loved ones. It is also traditional to light fireworks, colourful sparklers and have bonfires with all the family.
So what is the difference between Diwali and Deepavali? Well, Diwali is celebrated in Northern India and lasts for 5 days. Deepavali is celebrated in Sourthern India, lasts for four days and it is popular to bathe before sunrise.
In 2016, Diwali is celebrated on October 29 in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In North India, it is observed on October 30, 2016.
Watch the following video on Diwali by National Geographic and find the transcript below with vocabulary words you might not know:
At any time of year a visitor to India can be overwhelmed by its beauty and colour, but a visitor in late fall is especially fortunate. The temperature will have cooled down, the monsoons will have not yet begun and Diwali, the festival of lights, is at hand.
Diwali is to any Indians what Christmas is to Christians: in essence it commemorates the victory of the forces of light over the forces of darkness.
To experience it fully, get up before dawn and head for the flower markets. Here, flower vendors work feverishly to create garlands of fragrant jasmin that Indians will use to adorn their homes. By dawn they’ll be sold out.
Next, head for one of the temples, but go early, later on in the day they’ll be packed.
On your way over, you may see a curious sight: people hunched in front of their dorways pouring coloured sand on the ground. The sand takes the shape of a lotus blossom, a symbol of welcome and today millions of symbols of welcome will grace the nations’ doorways.
Indeed, Diwali is all about sharing; if you’re staying in a private home don’t be surprised if the neighbours show up with plates of delicious holiday treats.
It’s also customary for family to go to the temples together on this day. They often dress in fine new outfits, purchased especially for Diwali. And if their outfits inspire you, head for a sari shop. Shops are open on Diwali and Indian silks are justifiably famous for their beauty, they’re just one of the ways Indians spruces up and gets into the holiday spirit.
This is an occasion for us all to rejoice and be with the family, enjoy all the good things in life, so we buy good clothes and eat good food.
And everywhere there are lights, if you head to major comercial districts throughout India, you’ll find colourful displays, comparable to Christmas lights in western cities.
Some cities also put on spectacular public displays of fireworks, like this on in Delhi. But no matter where you are there are smaller, more intimate firework displays.
A long day of celebrations is coming to an end and it’s going out with a bang.
Overwhelmed – to affect (someone) very strongly.
At hand – close in distance or time.
Commemorate – to do something special in order to remember and honor (an important event or person from the past).
Feverishly – feeling or showing great or extreme excitement.
Garland – a ring or rope that is made of leaves, flowers, or some other material and that is used as a decoration.
Packed (to be packed) – filled with as many people as possible.
Hunched (to be hunched) – to raise (your shoulders or back) while bending your head forward especially to hide or protect your face.
Purchased (to purchase) – to buy.
Outfit – a set of clothes that are worn together.
Head for – Synonym of go to.
Spruce up – to make (someone or something) look cleaner, neater, or more attractive.
Going out with a bang – if an event, especially a party, goes with a bang, it is very exciting and successful.