Diwali, the festival of lights, is a major Indian holiday representing a spiritual new year, and a triumph of good over evil. Depending on the region and tradition, this day commemorates the return of Lord Rama, the birth of Lakshmi, and the Austerities of Shakti (among other events). Celebrants usually light lamps, set off fireworks, and wear new clothing to commemorate the day. The Hindu American Foundation has a special page set up for this year’s Diwali featuring news of a congressional proclamation, an explanation of the holiday, and Diwali greetings from a variety of Hindus, politicians, and prominent figures from other faith traditions. This year several Pagan voices, including T. Thorn Coyle, Andras Corban-Arthen, Angie Buchanan, Phyllis Curott, Patrick McCollum, Barbara McGraw, and Rachael Watcher share their blessings.
“On this wonderful holiday I bring you Greetings on behalf of the Covenant of the Goddess. It is an amazing opportunity to see offerings of service as worship, alleviating suffering, inequality, and the darkness of ignorance. I cannot help but be deeply moved by the vibrant and active Hindu community that I have found in working with the Hindu American Foundation and its members. I will light candles seeking my own inner wisdom in companionship with you and look forward to a long and happy association on this most joyous of festivals.” – Rachael Watcher, Elder National Board, Covenant of the Goddess, Public Information Officer
For more information on Diwali, check out the Washington Post essay from Aseem Shukla, co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation.
“A contraction from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, that literally means rows of earthen lamps, the day has varied religious significance for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. But the metaphysical import is the same across all traditions: let the lighting of the Diwali lamp illuminate and vanquish the dark forces–the vices–that abound in the recesses of the intellect. The light symbolizes the victory of knowledge over ignorance, and goodness over evil and awakens an an awareness of God in every life.”
Again, a very happy Diwali to all!