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Diwali: The Festival of Lights

DiwaliDiwali is the most important festival for Hindus. It is celebrated during Fall each year (this year Diwali fell on 22 Oct). The festival typically last five days, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month of Kartika. Usually before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow which culminates in a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. The festivities begin with buying new jewelry or vessels (considered especially auspicious at this time of the year!). The rituals also center around honoring the sacred bond of love and trust between a wife and a husband, a brother and a sister and urges all to earnestly seek the light of truth, learning and wisdom in all our endeavors.Diwali Puja

Spiritually, Diwali marks the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair. In the Yoga, Vedanta, and Samkhya schools of Hindu philosophy, followers are encouraged to explore something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman (the soul). The celebration of Diwali promises each year to dispell all ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things, and that true knowledge overcomes ignorance to reveal our inner truth and light! This year the Hindu Student’s Association (HSA) celebrated Diwali on 23rd of October. It was marked by Lakshmi puja and a message from the new Hindu Chaplain: Chaplain Pratima Dharm! The upcoming Diwali dinner is being organized by HSA and will be held on 8th of November in Copley Formal Lounge at 7:30 pm.

Pratima Dharm (new window), Hindu Chaplain