For five days this week, starting on Sunday, November 3, Hindus around the world will celebrate Diwali, or Deepavali, the Festival of Lights. Diwali marks the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil. Lamps are lit, colored lights dance against dark skies and fireworks explode in fiery celebration. People exchange gifts, often of gold, dress up in new clothes, prepare special dishes and sweets, and with this celebration acknowledge the gods for giving humans health, wealth, peace and prosperity.
Click here or below for a toolkit by the Hindu American Foundation that shows different ways you can join in the Diwali festivities with activities, including stories to read, a history of the festival and wonderful recipes.
But before you begin, let’s look at the idea of good and evil and how it applies to light and darkness. Obviously, when we think of light we think of seeing life as it is, with nothing to hide. The light gives us warmth and comfort. The dark can hide things that are frightening to us or that we don’t understand. So from early man life became a struggle between light and darkness. As societies developed and different beliefs and ideas arose, light and dark became symbols for good and evil.
In modern times, we realize through such studies as quantum physics, string theory, meta brain theory and other ideas—some yet to be conceived—that darkness is not necessarily the absence of light. A basis of physics is that matter cannot be destroyed, only changed into another form. So darkness, such as found in black holes in space, can actually contain very, very dense light that we can’t see. Science tells us that darkness then is not nothing.
So where does evil exist? Did you ever hear the expression that someone has a “dark imagination”? Evil is in the mind, and the darkness is the ignorance that causes people to imagine terrible things about others. Where does this lead? Wars, fighting, prejudice—the list goes on throughout thousands of years. When we imagine that people can live together in harmony, then we are changing the world for the better. It is our minds that shed light on the dark.
So ancient beliefs and modern knowledge have many ideas for us to ponder. And together, they can show us how the human spirit can triumph and create peace and prosperity in our world community.
Make Delicious Diwali Sweets
Click here for 7 easy Diwali dessert recipes.
Images of Diwali Celebrations Around the World: http://www.ibtimes.com/diwali-2013-hindu-festival-lights-celebrated-all-over-world-photos-1450014