Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated across India with intense enthusiasm. It is called the festival of light. A five day festival that falls in October or November, the first day of Diwali in 2012 is November 13th. Diwali signifies 'rows of lighted lamps'. It is celebrated with the lighting of lamps and candles, and displays of fireworks. People decorate their homes with beautiful clay lamps called diyas. Doors and windows are adorned with flowers and mango leaves. Diyas and candles are placed on rooftops and rooms throughout the house. On this day, the people worship the Hindu God Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, (the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity). Gifts and sweets are exchanged with neighbors, friends and relatives.
Like India's varied cultural diversity there are variations of the Diwali festival. The day called Dhanteras is set aside to worship the goddess of prosperity, Goddess Lakshmi starts the festival. Homes are cleaned as it is believed Lakshmi will enter a pure, clean and bright house. There are various traditions and legends associated with the celebration of Diwali. But mostly it is considered the celebration of Lord Ram returning to his kingdom of Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile and defeating Ravana, the demon king. In Bengal, the celebration includes the worship of Goddess Kali. Joy and festivity fills every corner of India during the Diwali festival. Diwali is the one Hindu festival that unites the whole of India. Diwali is an occasion for happiness and a sense of togetherness no matter your age or class. All take part in its celebration.
Diwali has come to Canada with the migration of people from India. The celebration varies from community to community but often involves parades, bonfires, lights, candles, sparklers and dances. As this is such a joyful celebration it’s not surprising Canadians everywhere celebrate whether they are of Indian descent or not. Ideally you can keep the air in your home clean, pure and fresh by using beeswax candles for the celebration of light. Beeswax tealights in appropriate cups work so well with the little clay lamps diyas. They are also perfect Diwali gifts.