An Indian festival with lights, held in the period October to November. It is particularly associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and marks the beginning of the financial year in India. Diwali 2016: October 29 and 30.
The night of 31 October, the eve of All Saints’ Day, often celebrated by children dressing up in frightening masks and costumes. Halloween is thought to be associated with the Celtic festival Samhain, when ghosts and spirits were believed to be abroad.
Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated majorly in India. It’s a day for crackers, yummy Indian sweets, family gatherings, prayer sessions, amazing festive food, fun and laughter.
Why is it celebrated: To mark the return of Lord Ram, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman from their 14 year long exile in the forest. The people of Ayodhya lit lamps in every home to welcome their true King as well as celebrate his victory over Ravana and also the safe return of their Queen Sita. They danced and made merry and lit firecrackers to express their joy over his return. And as a mark of respect and worship the festivities continue every year till this today.
We wake up before the sunrise, do our morning prayers, gather all our family members and friends, and burst crackers, distribute sweets, light up diyas (lamps) and have a blast.
Up until 2015, the end of October meant only Diwali for me. This year, along with celebrating my first Diwali away from India and with my Stockholm family, I also got to celebrate Halloween!!
Somewhere in between the Pumpkin carvings along the streets, the aroma of pumpkin spiced latte in the air, little kids going trick or treating in their cute little costumes, the yummy Halloween candies, the parties, dressing up in scary outfits and having fun with your friends, I fell in love with another October festival!
Why is it celebrated : Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.
Two different festivals, two different origins,two different ways of celebrating, but in the heart of both is the nature to bring people together and make them have fun 😀
As hard as it was to celebrate Diwali away from India, becoming part of another festival and tradition makes me feel at home in Stockholm! Looking forward to learn more about the culture and festivals here 🙂
-For now, your Swe-desi Seafarer signing off! 🙂