By Jyoti “Belle” Rao, Contributing Writer
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, has always been celebrated in my family as any religious occasion might with a night of food, family and prayer.
In Hindu folklore, Diwali is the culmination of several days of celebration, symbolizing the final victory of the fight between a good Lord over an evil King; therefore, becoming the celebration of good over evil. Families also celebrate to honor Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. Lights, candles and oil lamps are lit inside and outside of the home, symbolizing the family’s hope that Lakshmi will visit and bring wealth to celebrate with them.
This year, my family and I went all out on Oct. 30. Someone brought fireworks. Mom cooked a feast, and family members came in from out of town to celebrate with us. First, we prayed together, thanking Lakshmi for the blessings bestowed to our family. We talked about how our spirituality has helped us in our daily lives and how we appreciate all that we have, and we prayed for others who are less fortunate to soon be blessed by Lakshmi.
“God has given so many blessings,” my mom, Sharada, shared with us. “It is important to show gratitude.”
We exchanged gifts for the occasion and said our individual prayers for the day. Once prayer was finished, we went outside and lit the fireworks while laughing together and enjoying the celebration.
After the small fireworks display, we were brought to the dinner table to feast on traditional South Indian dishes, including a delicious dessert of kheer, a sweet pudding, and holige (pronounced holy-gay), a sweet flatbread filled with a thin layer of cane sugar.
During dinner, we welcomed technology and chatted with other family members across the globe to wish each other a happy Diwali.
“It’s very easy now-a-days,” my cousin, Roshan, said about reconnecting with our loved ones. “Excuses are no longer valid when trying to connect with family across the country.”
The day was filled with so much laughter and love in our family that it will not soon be forgotten. Happy Diwali from my family to yours.
Featured Image: Subharnab Majumdar [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Article Image: Special to The Jade Times