Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights, is India's biggest and most important festival of the year. This festival is as important to Indians as the Christmas holiday is to Christians. The festival gets its name from the row(avali) of clay lamps (deepa). Diwali, celebrated in October or November marks the victory of good over evil, that light triumphs over the dark. All Indians light the lamps, decorate their homes, share in prayers and open their doors to host and feast with loved ones.
People consider it auspicious to clean the home, wear new traditional clothes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils. The indoors and outdoors are decorated with beautiful rows of flickering diyas (clay lamps), lanterns and electric lights. There is also a tradition of creating design patterns called Rangoli on the floor using colored powders or flowers. It is also the time when people visit their friends and relatives with gifts and best wishes for the season. On the main day of festival families gather together for Lakshmi and Ganesha puja (a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha), followed by mouth-watering food and sweets. Some believe that Lakshmi wanders the Earth looking for homes where she will be welcomed. People open their doors and windows and light lamps to invite Lakshmi in.
Students at RIT also immerse in the cultural festivities of Diwali. RIT Bhangra, a student run organisation at RIT, holds an annual Diwali event, open to everyone on campus. Students both Indian and from other cultures gather together to celebrate Diwali. They enjoy traditional Indian dance performances, Indian food, henna painting, lighting ceremony, rangoli competition and other fun activities. On this occasion, one of the on campus dining places, Global Grille also offer Traditional Indian buffet all day long. Here are few photos from the Diwali celebrations on campus:
The lighting ceremony
Rangoli Competition (Ours was the winning Rangoli :D)
To all who celebrated the festival lights, a very Happy Diwali!