Happy Diwali

May the joyous celebration
Of this divine festival
Fill your heart with
Never ending joy and happiness!

Happy Diwali from ECOH.

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Today is Diwali, a five-day celebration popularly known as the Festival of Lights. Diwali literally means “series of lights.” During Diwali, houses are adorned with candles and colourful lights as people share gifts and recite prayers. Observed by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.

Diwali also coincides with the Hindu New Year, and celebrates the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita, who returned to their kingdom after a period of exile following the defeat of the demon king Ravanna. Diwali also pays tribute to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and lanterns are lit to guide her into people's homes to ensure a prosperous year ahead.

It’s a time renewal, with lots of cleaning, renovating, and decorating to spruce up the home. During Diwali, everyone dresses up in new clothes, and they light lamps and candles inside and outside their home. Families and friends also get together to pray, feast and watch fireworks.

Diwali runs for five days, with the main celebrations happening on the third and fourth day:

  1. Dhanteras: On the first day of Diwali, people consider it auspicious to clean the home.
  2. Naraka Chaturdasi or Chhoti Diwali: On the second day, people decorate their homes with lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
  3. Amavasya: The third day is the main festival day. Families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi followed by feasts and firework festivities.
  4. The fourth day: This day has various meanings in different parts of India. It is the first day of the new year when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
  5. Bhai Dooj: The final day sees brothers visiting their married sisters, who greet them with love and a lavish meal.

If you are a guest at a Diwali party, consider bringing a “Shubh”, or auspicious gift for your hosts. This can be sweets, dried fruits, nuts, or something for the home, like candles. An auspicious and traditional gift shows your authenticity and sincerity.

May the warmth, hospitality and happiness you experience during Diwali strengthen your families, your friendships and your communities. Please accept ECOH’s best wishes for a meaningful and joyous celebration.