South Asian cultures celebrate Diwali in different ways.
Diwali, or “the festival of lights”, is a Hindi holiday which, at its core is a blessing between brother and sister, and a prayer that God will defeat the Demon. The whole family celebrates and prays over 5 days with intention.
This is how many celebrated Diwali this year in North Hill:
Day 1 Prayer for the Crow which can bring messages, providing good or bad news.
Day 2 Worship of the Dog – a family friend, a safeguard for the family, and can send notice when something is coming.
Day 3 Celebration Day (Deepwali) – where the family prays for Goddess Laxmi, who is a symbol of wealth and prosperity. On this night the family lights candles which burn the whole night to welcome her. The families also worship the cow, which is sacred in the Hindi religion.
The family groups also travel from house to house dancing and singing Deusi (typically sung by boys) and Vaili (typically sung by girls). When the group arrives at a house, they sing that God will bless the family and pray that God has victory over the Demon. Each family offers the visitors gifts and food. This celebration and prayers continues for the next 2 days.
Day 4 Prayer and worship of the Ox or Cow. The Ox is important, as it is used to plow the field, providing the opportunity to grow crops. On this day, a house is built by Lord Krishna as a sanctuary to protect from the Demon.
Day 5 The brother and sister come together and share a gift. Everyone comes together in one home where they celebrate over a meal and a prayer for long life, shared by the whole family. They also wear beautiful Tika that are white, green, and yellow.
At IIA, we work to promote public awareness of the value of ethnic diversity, to encourage international communication. We celebrate diversity and culture, and hope by providing information on how our neighbors pray, you feel inspired to embrace differences within our community.