A lot of things make Diwali celebrations auspicious, but in 2017, there have been a few notable events that have taken place that made the festive Diwali season even more special. Diwali (also called Deepavali) is the biggest festival in India and the most widely celebrated festival for Hindus globally. In modern times, the dharmic festival of Deepavali has been often called the ‘festival of lights’ for english audiences – due to the tradition of lighting diyas (similar to candles) everywhere to overcome darkness with light.
An annual tradition in most Hindu households is festive lights, diyas, colourful decorations (rangolis), special-menu meals, large family gatherings and religious home-based pujas (Hindu prayers). In cities and areas where there are large Hindu and Indian populations, Diwali is also celebrated with melas (public festive gatherings) made up of food, loud music and dance performances. However, in 2017 there have been a few notable moments that made Deepavali a bit more special. It should also be noted that all dharmic faiths have a relation to Deepavali and celebrate it in variousforms, including Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.
Guinness book record for most lit Diyas (candles)
The Hindu holy city of Ayodhya is one of the most important cities in Diwali tradition as Bhagwan Lord Ram returned to the city of Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, a king who symbolized darkness. On Oct 18, 2017, UP CM Yogi Adityanath participated in the lighting of 200,000 lit diyas across the river banks of Ayodhya while also lighting the entire city with festive colourful lights.
Launch of globally recognized post-graduate Ayurvedic university
Dhanteras is one of the most important holidays prior to Diwali and an essential part of Diwali festivities. It is named after Dhanvantari, the god symbolizing heath, medicine and ayurveda. On Dhanteras 2017, India’s PM Modi, inaugurated the first ever All-Indian Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) and will product over a 1000 post graduates in Ayurvedic sciences with top-notch facilities and faculty. AIIA will be part of the IIT, IIM and AIIMS fame for producing some of the top talent globally.
Diwali celebrations in the Oval office
The US just has had one of the most intense election cycles ever, and US President Trump’s term has been filled with controversy. However, even in the chaotic world of american politics, President Donald Trump and many White House officials, including Ivanka Trump celebrated Deepavali in the infamous oval office. This comes as a surprise to many American-Indians & Hindus as it is hard to know what to expect from the Trump regime, but the celebration can be appreciated by all Diwali celebrants as a kind gesture.
Biggest push for environment-friendly celebrations
Like all major festivals globally, there is no party without some leftovers. Just like Christmas involves mass cutting and disposing of trees; Eid involves mass public sacrifice of livestock; Diwali involves in lots of firecrackers in densely populated areas. Over the years, many Hindus have been using organic-made diyas and firecrackers as well as many limiting their firecracker activities. Based on various reports in India, the overall narrative has been to celebrate while being environmentally conscious.
We hope everyone has a great and festive Diwali season. Unfortunate, Diwali has not been the best of times for some Hindus. In Bangladesh, there have been reports of a multiple attacks on Hindu temples during Diwali as well as some Hindus in Pakistan have stated they will not celebrate Diwali due to security threats from local Islamist groups. We pray for light and good to always defeat evil and darkness.
Happy Diwali! | Shubh Deepavali!