Happy Diwali!

Diwali, or Deepavali, the Festival of Lights that goes back to ancient India, is one of the major festivals among the Hindu community and is celebrated all around the world. During the five day celebrations people light up their homes and temple with (earthen) lamps. Diwali is celebrated on the darkest night of Hindu Lunisolar month of Kartika, and usually falls between mid-October to mid-November. Hindus celebrate Diwali with gift exchanges, fireworks and festive meals. The Sanskrit word Diwali means ‘row of lights’. People often line (earthen) lamps at their home to symbolize the inner light that protects form spiritual darkness. The earthen lamps, Diyas, symbolize the Sun. Diwali signifies the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. One of the most popular Hindu female deities, who is being worshipped during Diwali, is Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and good fortune. Her auspicious benedictions are invoked with the giving and receiving of gold, which is associated with prosperity and the divine. May the glow of joy, prosperity and happiness light up your days in the year ahead! Happy Diwali to all!

Rajasthan, 18th century, Painted in opaque watercolor and gold on paper, Collection @vanmuseum-London

Photo credits above photo: Lakshmi (1894) Metropolitan Museum – New York