Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, is an ancient festival celebrated every autumn in India. The festival itself is meant to celebrate the victory of light over darkness, knowledge gained over being ignorant, good slaying evil, and hope instead of despair. The festival spans for five days, so if you’re taking advantage of airfare deals to India or any other Hindu country during Diwali, you’ll want to know the traditions of the festival.
Idea #1: Gambling is Part of the Fun
Diwali has many customs and traditions, but one that might surprise you is that of the indulgences allowed — including gambling. This is traditionally done on a large scale in northern India, but it is acceptable behavior while celebrating the festival.
Idea #2: The Worshiping of Cattle
Some villages and farms around India worship cattle because they are considered the primary source for wealth. They believe the cattle are almost equal to God and cows are considered the incarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi.
Idea #3: Gift Exchanges Are a Must
Only during Diwali will you find more people willing to exchange and shower their loved ones with gifts. In fact, shopping for new gifts is a big part of this festival. People will gladly shop for hours buying clothes, accessories and other gifts. On Diwali, it is auspicious to purchase any gold.
Idea #4: You’ll See a Lot of Firecrackers
No Diwali celebration is complete without a lot of light — including firecrackers. It is believed by the Hindu that the loud noises associated with fireworks will keep evil spirits from entering homes.
Idea #5: Learn About Rangoli
Rangoli, a Sanskrit word, refers to the use of art and the creative use of color. Throughout the Diwali festival, you will see people decorate their homes, gardens and even storefronts with colorful rangolis, hangings, torans, etc. to properly welcome the Goddess Lakshmi.
Idea #6: Bathing Traditions
On the second day of Diwali, especially in Maharashtra, it is a tradition to take a bath before sunrise using oil and a paste of gram flour and fragrance.
Idea #7: Worshiping Lakshmi Puja
Prayers are offered throughout Diwali to the Goddess Lakshmi — the goddess of prosperity and wealth. It is believed that she will visit all houses and shower them with riches for devoting their lives to her. Every evening in Diwali, households will do a Puja dedication to the goddess.
Idea #8: The Lighting of Diyas
It is not called the festival of lights for nothing. During Diwali, an important tradition is that of lighting diyas. Once puja is complete, homes are decorated with lit lamps. This symbolizes ridding homes of darkness.
There are plenty of traditions to learn when taking advantage of airfare deals to India. If you’re going to be in town for Diwali — and we recommend you do — learn these traditions so you can partake in the fun and festivity.