Diwali is just around the corner

Diwali is a very special time for our community. Being located in the heart of West London, Sweetland London has been serving London’s prominent Hindu community with sweets for many years.

Diwali is a time of gifting and is one of Sweetland London’s busiest holiday periods, our baklava and particularly our fried syrup sweets serve as the perfect sweet gift for our loved ones during this festive period.

Our products are very popular as gifts during Diwali but it is also important for us to understand the underlying reason and meanings of the festival.

Diwali or “Deepavali” is a five-day festival that is significant to Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It is a time which signifies the triumph of good over Evil as well as truth and knowledge.     

For Hindus, the holiday of Diwali represents lessons and values to be kept throughout one’s life.  Each value and lesson is celebrated on a particular day of the five-day holiday and it is learned through the struggles and triumphs of Gods and other important figures in the religion’s mythology.

Each part of India has its own unique way of celebrating Diwali (as it is commonly known in Northern India) or Deepavali (the name more commonly used in the south). But everywhere in India, despite religious differences, Diwali is one of the most important holidays of the year.

Some differences in how the Diwali celebration is performed exist between the north and south. One in particular is associated with the first day of celebrations, when those in South India celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Naraka – a day before celebrations in the North. Celebrations in Northern India begin with rituals associated with the return of Lord Rama (Ram) to Ayodhya after years of exile.

According to latter legend, Diwali celebrates Rama’s return from a 14-year exile imposed on him by his father. Upon his return, he finds his subjects distressed by the demon Ravana, a smart but evil ‘pundit,’ who terrorizes the Kingdom. In celebration of  his return, Rama’s subjects welcome him back by lighting lamps, marking the holiday’s signature ritual. Rama, along with his wife Sita, defeats the demon and frees his Kingdom from oppression.  Today, Lord Rama’s return and victory signifies the triumph of good over evil.

In addition, another popular ritual associated with Diwali in India is the puja (or prayer) dedicated to the Hindu Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, Lakshmi. Diwali also commemorates the beginning of the New Year and is marked by the lighting of fireworks.

The First Day (Dhanteras) marks the beginning of the end of a 14-day dark period. On this day, the Lord Dhanvantari’s rises from the Ocean with Ayurvedic (medicine) for humankind. This day starts the festival of lights.

On this day people clean, renovate, and decorate their houses and businesses. Some will place a lighted or colorful Rangoli designs outside the door and small lights surround the house. Diyas (lamps) are lit and sweets offered to the Goddess Lakshmi.

The Second Day (Narak Chaturdasi) celebrates Lord Krishna’s defeat of a demon named Narakasura. The demon asks Lord Krishna for forgiveness and Krishna grants it. This day has been dedicated to the belief that even the worst of us can change and deserve sympathy. It is also a celebrated as the day Lord Krishna freed the world from fear.

On this day some celebrate by waking up before sunrise, bathing, and anointing themselves with oil. Firecrackers and fireworks are generally set off on this day.

 

The Third Day (Lakshimi Puja) is the main celebration day of Diwali.  On this day the Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean bringing with her wealth and prosperity for the world. People responded by honoring and praising Lakshmi, and this practice continues to day.

This day is the main celebratory day of Diwali. Houses are alight with diyas in celebration of Lakshmi. Firecrackers and fireworks are set into the sky, and sparklers are lit (particularly popular with children). New clothes are worn, gifts and sweets are shared, and people generally partake in a feast.



The Fourth Day (Padwa and Goverdhan Puja) is a day for the prayer known as Goverdhan Puja (pooja) – a large offering of food. Some celebrate this day in honor of Lord Krishna’s protection of the villagers of Vrindavan from torrential rain caused by Indra (the god of rain and storms).

On this day sacrifices and offerings are made to the deities. 

The Fifth Day (Bhai Duj) celebrates the love and affection between brothers and sisters. It reinstates the bother’s duty to protect and value his sister, and the sister’s reciprocated affection.  On this day, a great feast is shared between brothers and sisters

On the final day of Diwali, sisters share their meals with their bothers while the brothers share gifts with their sisters.

For Jains, Diwali celebrations focus on Mahavira’s – the 24th Tirthankara (a spiritual teacher and leader) – attainment of Nirvana. The celebration also acts as an end of year marker.

Light also has important significance in the Jain celebration, as Gods present the night Mahavira reached Nirvana illuminated the surroundings which were otherwise dark due to a New Moon.

To honor the light brought by the Gods, Mahavira’s attainment of Nirvana, and the light of knowledge, Gana Kings and leaders from Kasi and Kosal lit lights the next evening.

To celebrate, Jains will offer Nirvana Ladoo (a special Indian sweet) and prayers to Lord Mahavira. Living and work spaces are decorated with diyas and other lights as in the Hindu tradition, and sweets are shared among friends and family. Some may choose to fast in honor of Mahavira.

For the Sikhs the Diwali celebration coincides with Bandi Chhor Divas, or the Day of Liberation. This day commemorates the sixth Guru’s, Guru Hargobind Ji’s, release from imprisonment from the Muslim ruler Jahengir, along with 52 Hindu princes.  His release is a symbol of religious freedom for Sikhs that compromise a religious minority in India.

Diyas and lights are extremely symbolic in the Sikh celebration as well, as the Golden Temple was lit upon Guru Hargobind Ji’s return from prison. Today the tradition continues with the Golden Temple illuminated in remembrance, and gifts and meals shared between families.

Fireworks are also common, along with a street procession known as Nagar Keertan, music and singing at temples, and Akhand paath which is a non-stop reading of the works of the Guru Granth Sahib – an extremely important religious text.

 

Sweetland London welcomes our loyal customers to gift our amazing sweets this Diwali at 20% off using Code: DIWALI20 at checkout (Offer ends 27/10/2022). We hope that you and your loved ones can share the pleasures of our tasty sweets in celebration of this wonderfully positive festival. 

 

Sourcehttps://www.languageconnections.com/blog/diwali-celebration/ 

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