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A unique bond tightens every year

Diyas, fireworks, sweets and new clothes – when you see these, you know that the biggest festival of the year is neigh.

Diwali is the best time of year, at least for Hindus, since it brings together families and friends in a unique bond that seems to get stronger by time.

Indians value family ties and as such prepare for Diwali weeks in advance and enjoy the Festival with their loved ones.

Frenzied shopping accompanies the festivities. Shops are decorated with flowers, lights and tinsel and cater to large jostling crowds buying clothes, gold and silver ornaments, sweets and firecrackers. As a part of the celebrations, some families purchase new utensils for use from Diwali Day.

I have heard my relatives say that there is an air of extravagance usually experienced during the Diwali season and business would be brisk with each shop vying with the other by offering better bargains.

A grand occasion

In some parts of North India, a few days of gambling precedes Diwali.

According to legends, Lord Shiva and Parvati gambled; she won because she worshipped Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth.

We have always celebrated Diwali with grandeour, bringing together family, relatives and friends. Since my childhood, I have been used to some of the finest things in life, which come to the fore during this season.

Sonam Arora-A unique bond tightens- Diwali Shopping.jpgThe entire house undergoes thorough cleaning (sometimes repainted) and well lit with traditional lamps at dusk. My grandparents and parents would say that Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth visits houses of Her devotees and that she chose only those that are clean with people who were pure at heart. We would pray, seeking peace and prosperity for all.

We would keep our homes open for Goddess Lakshmi.

In many Hindu families, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh are worshipped on the night of Diwali with all the traditional offering of sweets, flowers, fruit and money, even a brand new gold ornament or two, bought especially for the occasion.

The diya, lit in homage to Lakshmi, is shaped to hold four wicks and is filled with clarified butter instead of oil. Being able to keep the diya alight until the wee hours of the morning means that Lakshmi will be pleased to grace your home with her presence for the twelve months to come.

Throughout India, Diwali celebrations bring the luminosity of joyous spirit-visits to relations and friends, heart touching heart, mind and mind, soul and soul and warm greetings. People offer gifts, spreading the universal language of love.

Different for Diaspora

Diwali may have a different meaning for children brought up outside India. I hope that we will continue the rituals taught by our parents and carry on the tradition until it is passed on to the next generation.

The rituals that our parents perform every Diwali are what we capture in our minds and this is what we, as youngsters will carry forward to the future generations.

Diwali is a celebration of light, a light that represents many things: the triumph of light over darkness, goodness over evil and hope for the future. In short, Diwali is about enlightenment.

As smaller ethnic communities have developed in New Zealand, they have contributed to the increasingly diverse and varied society in which we live. None more than the Indian community, which has built a reputation for hard work and strong family values.

Sonam Arora is an Auckland resident pursuing a correspondence course in Journalism.

Photo :

Strong bond brings forth joy. Sonam Arora with (from left) her brothers Pawan, Abhinav and parents Shivani and Kuldeep

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