Hindus in South Africa and all around the world will be celebrating Deepavali on the 26 October 2011. Deepavali is a Sanskrit word which when translated into English means “row of lamps”
Deepavali falls on the one new moon night between mid October and mid November, and the date is decided upon by Lunar/Solar Hindu Calendar.
In India, Deepavali is celebrated over a period of 5days and it is a national holiday. The celebrations start with “Dhanteras”, this is believed to be a very auspicious time to make financial decisions and commitments. Most Indian business communities start their new financial year on this day, and on the home front the ladies will generally buy a valuable piece of gold trinket and a utensil for the house hold. Then there is the worship of “Mother Lakshmi” the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling wishes of her devotees and “Mother Saraswati” the goddess of knowledge. While the story behind Deepavali and the manner in which one celebrates varies from region to region and country to country, the essence and significance is the same –“THE CELEBRATION OF THE VICTORY OF GOOD OVER EVIL”. The lighting of clay lamps in and around ones home signifies triumph of “Light over Darkness”. Fireworks are lit to ward of any evil or negative spirits
On Deepavali day prayers and religious rituals are observed negative spirits. Sweets and food are distributed among those less fortunate. Family members spend the day feasting and enjoying each other’s company.