Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Diwali (Deepavali) 2014

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, Dipavali, Dewali, Deepawali or the Festival of Lights, marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. It is celebrated on the 15th day of Kartika (October/November) in the Hindu calendar. Diwali celebrations can last for about five days
Big buzz in Little India over Deepavali
Shoppers picking up deals in Little India (above), while a devotee offers a prayer at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Serangoon Road. -- ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, DESMOND LIM

Brightly-coloured bazaars, temple visits and the bustling Little India light-up usher in the Hindu festival of Deepavali, which falls on Wednesday.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Deepavali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, and good over evil.

At home, families light oil lamps and decorate their floors with rangoli or kolam, traditional patterns made with coloured rice flour or powder.


Deepavali Singapore 2014

Deepavali, "row of lights" in English, is the most important festival in Hinduism, celebrated by the Hindus community across the world. The Singapore festival is held in Little India, the home of the Indian community. Deepavali is a celebration where good defeats evil and where light replaces darkness.. different legends run around this festival of lights, one states Lord Krishna killed the tyrant Narakasura, and since it was complete darkness people lighted lamps to welcome Lord Krishna and the tradition continues, another legend tells Lord Rama returned from his fourteen year long exile and vanquished the demon-king Ravana and the people celebrated of by lighting oil lamps.

Deepavali also marks the end of the harvest season in most of India and some businesses start their financial year on that date as it brings good fortune.

During the festive week end, the main road of Little India is artfully decorated with many colorful and bright lights, street decorations and fireworks, giving the place a vibrant and powerful atmosphere! Traditional and culture activities, street parade, concerts and impressive bazaars with traditional clothing, saris, oil lamps, fragrant flowers, jeweleries.. will take place. Indian art and crafts will also be on sale, as well as many Indian delicacies. The historically rich Indian enclave welcomes those who wish to be delighted by the richness of the Indian culture and the taste of its wonderful specialities.


Deepavali

Deepavali, which literally means “row of lights,” is celebrated by Hindus across the world and is the most important festival in Hinduism. In Singapore, the Festival of Lights, as it’s endearingly called, falls in the last quarter of the year and is a public holiday.

Deepavali is the celebration of good over evil, and light overcoming darkness. While there are various legends that inspire this festival, the common tale is about how Narakasura won the favor of God and was blessed with the rule of a kingdom. He ruled his kingdom with tyranny, which led his subjects to appeal to Lord Sri Krishna, the divine ruler of Madura, for help. Narakasura was subsequently killed by Lord Krishna in battle and on Lord Krishna’s return, the city was in complete darkness as it was the night of a new moon. To celebrate his victory and to welcome Lord Krishna, the people lit lamps, and to this day, Hindus mark the victory of Lord Krishna over King Narakasura by lighting oil lamps.

New clothes are worn during Deepavali and sweets and snacks are shared. Some Indian communities also begin the financial year on Deepavali for auspicious reasons. A traditional way to celebrate Deepavali in Singapore is to have your hands painted with henna art. Henna is a flowering plant used to dye skin, hair, fingernails and even leather and wool. These temporary tattoos are often done for free by local artists.


Deepavali - What does it mean?

Deepavali as it known by the South Indians or Diwali as it is referred to by the North Indians Deepa means light, and Avali means row. Hence, Deepavali is symbolised by rows or garlands of lights which adorn the homes of Hindu devotees and temples.

The festival is one of the biggest celebrations in the Hindu community and is celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Aipasi in the Tamil calendar and the last day of the month of Vikaram Samvat in the North Indians calendar. The festival usually falls in late October or early November each year, on the day of the new moon. Deepavali is not the Hindu or Indian new year.

Why is it celebrated? There are many legends attached to Deepavali. Generally, it is believed that the festival commemorates the legendary victory of good over evil which happened when Lord Krishna defeated teh demon king Narakasura and freed the people from his atrocities. Hindus celebrate this event as a reminder that ultimately good will triumph over evil. Generally, this festival is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as a reminder of the need to vanguish ignorance that subdues humanity, drive away the darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge and uphold the true values of life.


Why Do We Celebrate Deepavali?

Deepavali, otherwise known as the “festival of lights”, marks the triumph of good over evil for Hindus as it commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna, the ruler of Madura over the demon Narakasura, whose evil rule in the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram was much feared by the villagers. Upon Lord Krishna’s return, the city of Madura was in complete darkness as it was the night of a new moon.

Therefore, to celebrate the victory and welcome Lord Krishna, the people lit lamps to pave the way for Lord Krishna, hence Deepavali is also known as the “”festival of lights”. Another legend associated with Deepavali would be the return of Lord Rama from unjust exile by his stepmother after fourteen years and his defeat of the demon king, Ravana. Therefore, Deepavali is also celebrated to honour Lord Rama and to mark his triumph of good over evil. During Deepavali, Hindu homes are decorated with fresh mango leaves and kolams (Indian floor art).

It is also celebrated with the feasting on traditional sweets and snacks, visiting relatives and friends and lighting of oil lamps around the home. The oil lamps placed in the homes are believed to usher in good fortune.


The Diwali festival

Diwali is called the Festival of Lights and is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana. People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil (light over darkness). The goddess of happiness and good fortune, Lakshmi, also figures into the celebration. It is believed that she roams the earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean, and bright.

The Diwali festival in southern India often commemorates the conquering of the Asura Naraka, a powerful king of Assam, who imprisoned thousands of inhabitants. It was Krishna, a deity worshipped in Hinduism, who was finally able to subdue Naraka and free the prisoners. Diwali celebrations may vary in different communities but its significance and spiritual meaning is generally “the awareness of the inner light”. It is also the beginning of the new financial year for the business community.

Symbols: Lamps, fireworks and bonfires illuminate this holiday, as the word “Deepawali” means “a row or cluster of lights” or “rows of diyas (clay lamps)”. The festival symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. During Diwali, or Deepawali, the goddess Lakshmi, who symbolizes wealth, happiness and prosperity, is also worshipped.


Deepavali

Deepavali also known as Diwali, literally means "row or garland of lights". Locally, it has been called "The Festival of Lights". It is symbolic of victory of good over evil, celebrated by most Hindus the world over. It highlights the victory of Lord Krishna, one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon, over the Demon King, Narakasura. It usually falls around late October or early November on the new moon day.

Legend has it that Narakasura, the king of demons, had tortured the common folk. After many years of hardship, the people, unable to bear the suffering, appealed to Lord Krishna who then declared war against the demon king. As he lay dying, the demon king begged for mercy from Lord Krishna and he asked that the people rejoice and be merry at the anniversary of his death as a reminder that ultimately evil will never triumph. Little clay lamps were then lighted as a sign of gratitude to Lord Krishna.

Some Hindus believe that Deepavali is celebrated to mark the return of Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana after being banished from Ayodhya by his stepmother for a period of 14 years. An important reminder is that Deepavali is not the Indian or Hindu new year. The Tamil New Year falls on either 13 or 14 April every year.


Deepavali, is called the Festival of Lights

"Deep" means lights and "avali" means a row, i.e. a row of lights. A five-day celebration, Deepavali is the most important festival in the Hindu calendar. The history of Deepavali replete with legends from the Puranas (holy hindu scriptures).

The core theme of all these legends point to the classic truth; the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. Oil lamps are lit thanking the gods for happiness, health, wealth and knowledge within us. In Singapore this festival is widely celebrated by all the citizens, migrants, expatriates and visitors, under the umbrellaof One People, One Singapore. It is a Community Festival.

The countless varieties of sweets and savouries served during Deepavali symbolizes sweetness and happiness in one"s life. Not to mention a treat for the taste buds! These delicious sweets and savouries are also offered to deites. After traditional prayers and worship, the blessed food is served to the family and visitors.


Deepavali

Deepavali also known as Diwali, literally means "row or garland of lights". Locally, it has been called "The Festival of Lights". It is symbolic of victory of good over evil, celebrated by most Hindus the world over. It highlights the victory of Lord Krishna, one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon, over the Demon King, Narakasura. It usually falls around late October or early November on the new moon day.

LegendLegend has it that Narakasura, the king of demons, had tortured the common folk. After many years of hardship, the people, unable to bear the suffering, appealed to Lord Krishna who then declared war against the demon king. As he lay dying, the demon king begged for mercy from Lord Krishna and he asked that the people rejoice and be merry at the anniversary of his death as a reminder that ultimately evil will never triumph. Little clay lamps were then lighted as a sign of gratitude to Lord Krishna.

Some Hindus believe that Deepavali is celebrated to mark the return of Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana after being banished from Ayodhya by his stepmother for a period of 14 years. An important reminder is that Deepavali is not the Indian or Hindu new year. The Tamil New Year falls on either 13 or 14 April every year.


Diwali

Diwali, also called Deepavali or the "Festival of Lights", is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartik. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja typically to Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja (prayers), fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.

Diwali is an important festival for Hindus. The name of festive days as well as the rituals of Diwali vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on second day, Diwali on the third day, Diwali Padva dedicated to wife-husband relationship on the fourth day, and festivities end with Bhau-beej dedicated to sister-brother bond on the fifth day. Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra.

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Diwali 2014

Diwali 2014 Dates based on Hindu calendar followed in India. The most popular Hindu festival Diwali literally means ‘an array of lamps.’ The festival signifies the victory of good over evil – where the good and the evil are present in us. Diwali 2014 date is October 23 as  per Hindu Calendar - India Standard Time. In 2014, the Diwali dates are – Dhanteras on October 21, Diwali on October 23, Lakshmi Puja on October 23 and Bhai Dhooj on October 25.

The Diwali lamps signify the removal of spiritual darkness and the ushering in of knowledge capable of realizing Brahman (That) – the Supreme Being present in all animate and inanimate.

There are several reasons for celebrating Diwali. The most important one is the commemoration of the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.

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Deepavali

During Deepavali, the entrance to Hindu homes is decorated with fresh mango leaves and kolams (Indian floor art). It is believed that the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, will only enter a home that is adorned with a kolam. Modern Singaporeans adorn their homes with tinsel and plastic decorations shaped to look like mango leaves. Instead of a kolam hand drawn with rice flour what one would probably see are stickers with intricate kolam motifs pasted in front of a Hindu home in Singapore today.

Sweet delicacies like jelebi (deep fried batter in syrup), ney urundai (green mung bean sweets) are served with traditional breakfast which would include thosai (rice flour pancakes) and iddiyappam (rice flour hoppers). Savory delicacies like murukku (crunchy snack) and vadai (lentil cake) are also served.

Festivities for the day would include feasting on traditional foods, visiting with friends and relatives, offering prayers for the Lord, and lighting of oil lamps around the home. The rows of oil lamps placed in the home are believed to usher in all that is good. Children celebrate the day playing with sparklers.

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