Deepavali, a festival of lights
Deepavali, known as the festival of lights is celebrated by all Hindus worldwide. One important practice that the Hindus follow during the festival is to light oil lamps in their homes on Deepavali morning. By lighting the oil lamps, the Hindus are thanking the gods for the happiness, knowledge, peace and wealth that they have received. The Hindus consider Deepavali as the most important festival to celebrate.
There is even an interesting legend behind this festival. The story goes that Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Khrishna set out to destroy the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, the triumph of good over evil.
Preparation for Deepavali starts usually at least two to three weeks before the festival. It is known that the Hindus will be busy cleaning their houses to prepare for the festival. Usually the family will shop for new clothes and for accessories to decorate their homes.
The Hindus usually awake early in the morning of Deepavali for the ritual of oil siaka bath, which is an important feature of Deepavali. Hindus will be dressed in their new clothes on Deepavali. Hindus would also pay their respects to their ancestors and elderly and most families would go to the temple to pray for happiness and prosperity. Their houses would be decorated with oil lamps and children will play with firecrackers to celebrate the festival. On the first day, they would not go visiting but would stay at home to welcome the guests who visit them.
Visiting Hindus during Deepavali will be an interesting activity as you will get to taste a wide variety of Indian culinary. In every home that you visit you are bound to be served with a tempting spread of sweets and muruku. Some of the popular sweets are halwa, burfi and laddu. Hindus love eating spicy food and they indulge in favorites like chutney, dhal and curry to go with thosai, idli and vadey.