November 05, 2010

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Diwali: Festival of Lights

Diwali, or Deepavali is the most important festival of the year in India and Sri Lanka. A 5 day Hindu festival, The Festival of Lights celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the triumphant return of Lord Rama. Upon his return the people of Ayodhya (the capital of Rama) celebrated Lord Rama's return by illuminating the countryside with clay oil lamps. This tradition is still practiced today.

A traditional oil lamp.
A coconut lantern from the loaded trunk.

I was recently in India with my daughter on a rather crazy and intense 2 month jaunt through the northern region of this fascinating country. Unfortunately, our trip did not coincide with Diwali but we were fortunate enough to experience many holy rituals throughout the holy sites and cities that we visited. One that stays with me is our time spent in the city of Varanasi. Considered to be the holiest of Hindu cities in the world, the literal center of the earth in Hindu cosmology, Varanasi is filled with holy people, celebrations, and temples. 
The nightly ritual honoring the Mother Ganga. 


A local Varanasi boy lighting candles in remembrance of the deceased.
(photos taken by the loaded trunk)
 As I was sitting here writing this I opened my inbox to find this lovely Diwali greeting that I leave you with:

Dear All,
May the Divine Light of Diwali Spread into your Life Peace, Prosperity, Happiness and Good Health
Happy Diwali to you & and your family.


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