Diwali What is Diwali

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What is Diwali?
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights that takes place at the end of October or beginning of November; celebrates the triumph of good over evil

What is the significant of Diwali?
- Diwali celebrates the triumph of good and knowledge over the dark forces of evil and ignorance
- it honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune
- Vishnu is also honoured during this festival since he defeated the demon Naraka
- plus it commemorates Rama’s return to his kingdom after defeating Ravana, the evil king who had abducted his wife, Sita, in the Ramayana

How is Diwali celebrated?
- in India this festival is celebrated over a period of ____ days at the end of October or the beginning of November
- but in other countries such as Canada, it is only observed over a period of ___ evening
- during this festival Hindu’s set off fireworks, decorate their houses with lights, give gifts, and wear new clothes
- vegetarian dinners are prepared, and a traditional puja is performed at dusk before the feast begins

Puja – a common thanksgiving ritual that involves offerings of flowers, food and other article to the deities

Ramayana – a Hindu epic of about 24 000 verses, composed 200 BCE

Rama – the seventh incarnation of God Vishnu; the hero in the Hindu epic the Ramayana

Story of Diwali

One story for Diwali is the destruction of Ravana. Ravana, who had ten arms and ten heads, was the wicked king of the island of Sri Lanka, who kidnapped the wife of Rama. Rama had been in exile for 14 years because of a disagreement as to whether he or his brother should be the next king in Ayodhya.

After a great battle Rama killed the demon and recovered his wife. Rama's return with his wife Sita to Ayodhya and his subsequent coronation as king is celebrated at Diwali.

When Rama and Sita first returned to Ayodhya it was a dark moonless night and they couldn't see where they were going. Their people put little lamps outside their houses so that the new king and queen could find their way, thus beginning the tradition of the festival of lights.

The next story of Diwali is in honor of Kali so it is also known as Kali puja. Long long ago, the world was overrun with evil - men had turned to wicked ways, and demons, rakshasas and ogres thrived and prospered. The gods were helpless. They could do nothing to control or contain the evil in the world.

In desperation they turned to the supreme goddess Devi for help. Devi agreed to end the evil, and took on the black and frightening form of the goddess of destruction to do so. This form of Devi is known as Kali, which means 'black'. Devi in the form of Kali then went on a rampage of destruction, killing and destroying all the evil men and demons in the world.

Kali became so angry that she could not stop, even when all the evil had been destroyed. She began destroying the entire world in her fury. The gods asked her to stop, but she didn't hear them. They turned to Shiva her husband for help as the only one who could stop her. But Kali didn't hear him either. So Shiva lay down in her path - and only when she put her foot on him did she come to her senses, and stop her madness of destruction.

From that day Kali is worshipped for her great help to rid the world of evil and so Diwali was born.

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