Diwali As One Of The Most Important Celebrations In The Hindu Tradition
Religion makes up a large part of our world. Providing an ethical base and cultural heritage, it influences people’s beliefs and gives people a certain way of life in connection to community. Hinduism, one of the five major world religions, holds connections to people around the globe. Its intricacies and deep cultural history are what makes it such a central part of so many adherent’s lives. Within the religion itself, there exists a number of sacred rituals and festive celebrations. Lakshmi Puja, a ritual within the festival of Diwali, is celebrated in the Hindu tradition all around the world. Using Victor Turner’s ‘three meaning’ ritualistic model it can be proven that the Lakshmi Puja is a calendrical religious ritual. The significance of Diwali is not only prominent in Hindu countries but also in Australia.
Throughout the year, different religious events are celebrated and rituals are completed by adherents. These rituals can be classified as either lifecycle or calendrical. Within the calendrical spectrum, which mark particular times of the year, rituals can be identified through different periods including Solar (using phases of the moon to measure time) or Lunar (measures of time between vernal equinoxes). The Diwali festival is a calendrical festival, meaning that it is observed annually in a set time period, normally between October and November (Bitesize, 2019). The Indian calendar differs slightly from what is known in the Western hemisphere. The Gregorian calendar, which is used in most parts of the world, is based on the earth’s revolution as it circles the sun, while the Hindu calendar is based on the moon’s movement around the earth. Also, the Hindu calendar is more centred around the alignment of zodiac signs and Hindu religious festivals than the Gregorian calendar (Nyokabi, 2017).
Diwali is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu tradition. Diwali celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness over the 5-day period. It is called the ‘festival of lights’ because of the way everything is illuminated with oil lamps, displaying how goodness outshines evil and darkness. During this time, all the buildings, workplaces, common areas and homes are decorated with oil lamps called ‘diyas’. This act of lighting stems from different origin stories, all with an underlying theme of overcoming evil through righteousness. One story tells of ‘the return of deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile’ (BBC, 2018). Another common belief is that of how an evil king captured king Rama’s wife, Sita. Rama, with the help of an army of monkeys who built a bridge from India to Sri Lanka, defeated the evil king and rescued Sita. On their return home, they were greeted with millions of lights spread out across the city Ayodhya to guide them (Little, 2018). Some of the celebrations of Diwali include visiting relatives, watching fireworks, having feasts and worshipping Lakshmi, ‘the Hindu Goddess of wealth and bringer of blessings for the new year’, which corresponds to the third day of Diwali: Lakshmi Puja (BBC, 2018).
Lakshmi Puja is the third day of Diwali. During this day, the Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in different ways but for the same reason: to bring prosperity and wealth on yourself and your family (Tandem, 2018). This is especially meaningful for business owners as good fortune and positivity is always appreciated.