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Shining Bright: Exploring the Traditions and Significance of Diwali

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of India's most significant and widely celebrated festivals. It is a time of joy, happiness, and spiritual renewal for Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs worldwide. This cultural learning exercise aims to explore the traditions and significance of Diwali.

Diwali is celebrated on the darkest night of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik, usually between October and November. The festival marks the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. It is a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, and participate in various religious rituals.

One of the most prominent aspects of Diwali is the use of gold and other precious items. Gold has always held immense cultural and economic significance in Indian society. It is considered a symbol of wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. During Diwali, people adorn themselves and their homes with gold jewellery, coins, and other precious items.

Gold is also associated with the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi. It is believed that on the day of Diwali, Lakshmi visits every house and blesses it with wealth and abundance. To welcome the goddess, people decorate their homes with intricate rangoli (artistic designs made on the floor using coloured powders), flowers, and diyas (oil lamps).

Many families purchase new gold jewellery or invest in gold coins during Diwali. Buying gold during this time is considered auspicious and believed to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year. Gold shops and jewellery stores witness a significant surge in sales during the festival season.

Apart from gold, other precious items like silver, diamonds, and gemstones are also popular during Diwali. People often gift silver coins or utensils to their loved ones as a symbol of good luck and blessings. These precious items are believed to bring prosperity and protection to the recipient.

However, it is essential to note that Diwali is not just about worldly displays of wealth. The festival holds deep spiritual and religious significance. It is a time for introspection, self-improvement, and the pursuit of knowledge. Diwali is also a time for charity and giving back to the community, as people share their wealth and blessings with those less fortunate.

In Scotland, Diwali celebrations typically include traditional rituals, cultural performances, music, dance, and lighting lamps and fireworks. The festivities often involve the local Indian community coming together to mark the occasion with joy and enthusiasm.

Celebrating Diwali away from family can be challenging for many individuals. It is a time when families come together to celebrate, exchange gifts, and participate in various religious rituals. For those away from home, the festival can be a time of loneliness and homesickness.

Despite these challenges, many individuals find creative ways to celebrate Diwali away from home. They may connect with other community members or friends to create a sense of togetherness. They may also incorporate their unique cultural traditions and practices to create a personalised celebration.

We asked the University of Stirling, Based in Forth Valley Division, to give us an insight into how Diwali is celebrated by the students away from home. They shared this video with officers and staff in Police Scotland to get an insight into the festival. Diwali is not just about lighting diyas (lamps) and exchanging gifts; it is about coming together as a community, celebrating with loved ones, and spreading joy and happiness. With people coming together, the festival retains its meaning and essence. Plenty of Diwali events across Scotland offer a fantastic opportunity for everyone to join the celebrations. Whether you are part of the Indian community or not, these events provide a chance to experience the joy and enthusiasm that Diwali brings.

Suggested Links

How to make a Rangoli -


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