Kusala Projects Supporting Children in Bodhgaya, India

Festival of Lights

Diwali or Deepavali, the ‘Festival of Lights’ was recently celebrated at Elsa Primary School. ‘Deepa’ and ‘vali’ are Sanskrit words meaning light and string respectively.

It is a very important festival for Hindus and is also celebrated by Sikhs & Jains. It generally lasts five or six days, is scheduled according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, occurring between mid-October and mid-November.

It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance” and is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity and Ganesha, god of wisdom and the remover of obstacles.

During this time, houses are adorned with colourful lights with main entrances decorated with rangolis (intricate mandala patterns). These are drawn by hand and then colored in using colored powders or ground rice powder. Diwali is very much a time for families to come together with much sharing of traditional Indian sweets and snacks. It marks the start of the Hindu New Year.