Diwali is an annual Hindu celebration period also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’. It is a 5 day celebration of the triumph of good over evil as Rama, the eldest son of King Dasaratha, defeated the evil Ravana in an epic battle of good versus evil in the name of love. In less dramatic terms, Diwali is the ultimate metaphor for the prevalence of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
Lighting Up The World
All around the world, Hindus gather in families, in groups and even welcome non-Hindus to be a part of the festival which is marked by exotic foods, elegant garments and, of course, lights in many forms from candles to fireworks.
During Diwali, you will also observe very many homes having colored sand art in the form of a lotus flower in front of their doors. This is a symbol of the goddess Lakshmi, who sits in a lotus flower. Laksmi is the goddess of health and wealth. So the lotus flower art in front of the door is a way of welcoming her home. However, the art put in front of the door varies all over the world. Some families even do little footstep stickers in a line towards the door.
Diwali In India
Diwali is celebrated all over the world, in India, there is a certain air of authenticity that can be felt, especially in the market place on Diwali. Very many people will wake up as early as 6AM to go to the markets. The reason for this early rising is that if you don’t get there early then all the best stuff goes fast!
Sharing With The World
All over the world, offices, schools and communities will be enjoying goodies in the form of Kaju Katli, Badaam Halwa, Mohanthal and very many other goodies. It is a part of Diwali to share food with friends, family and neighbors, even if you do not necessarily know them. So if a Hindu neighbor comes to your door wielding sweets during Diwali, eat them. If you are invited to a lunch or dinner, go, the food is delicious.
Celebrating Diwali Here In Nairobi
There are quite a few temples in Nairobi you can visit and check out Diwali celebrations as they happen on the Hindu New Year. The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple on Forrest Road, which can be seen in the video above, is a great example of where you can go check out Diwali celebrations. But if you are non-Hindu, please respect the traditions and rules of the temple.