Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Diwali: Festival of Lights

Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, light, prosperity and wisdom (Credit: Deepavali.net)

Ganesha, the ‘Remover of Obstacles’ and the ‘Lord of Beginnings.’ (Credit: Deepavali.net)

Diwali tribute at Heritage India Dupont Circle

 Maybe you’ve heard of the Indian holiday commonly called Diwali. If you’ve been to an Indian restaurant during the holiday, you’ve undoubtedly seen a display of candles, central to this celebration of lights.

The five-day holiday is also called Deepavali and its main day in 2011 is Oct. 26.

As described on deepavali.net,

“Deepavali (also: Depawali, Dipavali, Dewali, Diwali, Divali, Dipotsavi, Dipapratipad ) marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. It literally translated means 'Row of Lights' (from Sanskrit: dipa = lamp / awali = row, line). It celebrates the victory of Goodness over Evil and Light over Darkness - it ushers in the new year. Especially for this event people are cleaning their houses and wear new clothes. Diwali is a 5 day festival as Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Badi (Main) Diwali, Padwa and Bhaiduj. There are many different names for the days of Diwali in different regions of India (South & North India, East & West India) and in the different languages spoken in that regions (i.e. Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali). During Deepavali people pray to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, light, prosperity and wisdom, but also to Ganesha, the ‘Remover of Obstacles’ and the ‘Lord of Beginnings.’”

Among the popular vegetarian foods for the festival is sambal, made with tomatoes, onion, green chilli, lime or lemon juice and coconut. View the recipe here.

Happy Diwali! Deepavali Valthukkal! Shubh Diwali!

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