Festival of lights
The Krishna Temple invites everyone to come and celebrate in Salt Lake City
The event will include classical and folk dancing, live music, dramas, a ceremony of lights,huge vegetarian feast, and offering of respects to a live cow.
Diwali is a shortened version of Deepawali (deepa=lamps, wali=row: rows of lamps).
Households in India put lamps in every window, and temples brightly illuminate their altars to bring in the best for the upcoming year.
The date of the festival coincides with the return of the avatar of God, Sri Rama, to His ancestral kingdom after 14 years of exile and many adventures. All the citizens welcomed Rama home by brightening up his home city of Ayodhya and setting off fireworks.
The Festival of Lights occurs during the lull between fall harvests and the onset of the monsoons. Thus it is a time of thanksgiving, and that corollary festival is called Anna Kuta (literally meaning “heaps of food”).
Lord Krishna inaugurated this festival by inspiring the inhabitants of His village (Vrndavan) to worship the cows on this one day per year and to prepare a huge celebratory feast consisting of no less than 108 preparations.
10 Reasons to Celebrate Diwali
The Festival of Lights is for All
Why do we celebrate Diwali? It’s not just the festive mood in the air that makes you happy, or just that it’s a good time to enjoy before the advent of winter. There are 10 mythical and historical reasons why Diwali is a great time to celebrate. And there are good reasons not just for Hindus but also for all others to celebrate this great Festival of Lights.
1. Goddess Lakshmi’s Birthday
The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the ocean (samudra-manthan), hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi.
2. Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi
On this very day (Diwali day), Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali and this is another reason of worshipping Ma Lakshmi on Diwali.
3. Krishna Killed Narakasura
On the day preceding Diwali, Lord Krishna killed the demon king Narakaasur and rescued 16,000 women from his captivity. The celebration of this freedom went on for two days including the Diwali day as a victory festival.
4. The Return of the Pandavas
According to the great epic ‘Mahabharata’, it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.
5. The Victory of Rama
According to the epic ‘Ramayana’, it was the new moon day of Kartik when Lord Ram, Ma Sita and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana and conquering Lanka. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it like never before.
6. Coronation of Vikramaditya
One of the greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya was coroneted on the Diwali day, hence Diwali became a historical event as well.
7. Special Day for the Arya Samaj
It was the new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) when Maharshi Dayananda, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj attained his nirvana.
8. Special Day for the Jains
Mahavir Tirthankar, considered to be the founder of modern Jainism also attained his nirvana on Diwali day.
9. Special Day for the Sikhs
The third Sikh Guru Amar Das institutionalized Diwali as a Red-Letter Day when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Gurus blessings. In 1577, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid on Diwali. In 1619, the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind, who was held by the Mughal Emperor Jahengir, was released from the Gwalior fort along with 52 kings.
10. The Pope’s Diwali Speech
In 1999, Pope John Paul II performed a special Eucharist in an Indian church where the altar was decorated with Diwali lamps, the Pope had a ‘tilak’ marked on his forehead and his speech was bristled with references to the festival of light.