India’s population consists of 80% Hindus. Diwali is the biggest Hindu festival of the year except few corners of the country where one or two local festivals have more acceptance over Diwali.
Last week on 26th October people in India celebrated Diwali. Here in US, we celebrate over week end as its more convenient for the people at work. Needless to say back in India its a national holiday. Each year the date varies in accordance with ancient Indian lunar calendar.
Diwali, often called the festival of lights, have been celebrated since thousands of years. We light earthen lamps to welcome good spirits (in the form of god and goddess) in our home and we burst fire crackers to keep evil spirits away. Diwali is a celebration of victory of good over evil.
Imagine a scene where millions of people come out of their homes and are firing firecracker and lighting lamps (and modern lights) around their home, patio and balconies., windows, doors. It’s a Christmas on a much much bigger scale. Easier to visualize the event if you consider 4th of July is being celebrated in every nook and corner of the country (not only in designated areas) for 6 hours. Same light and same atmosphere and intensity.
This day has huge significance in terms of financial matters. It is start of a new financial year.
Although its a national holiday and all financial institution remain closed, Indian stock market opens for an hour in the evening and people usually place buy orders because its considered as good omen for the year to come since, Deewali marks the beginning of financial calendar for a lot of businesses and stock brokers. Since basically every small investor buys on this special session, non believers take the opportunity and sell their holdings at profit. Basically for last few years the special session returns the market flat.
Diwali reminds me of my childhood. Creating earthen pots, air drying and then putting oil and cotton. Making a decoration by lining the lamps in different patters, burning firecrackers, lighting candles, competing with other kids on the distance traveled, height attained and longevity of firecrackers.
We are celebrating Diwali tonight within our local community. Once I am done with this post, I’ll head over to the temple and take part in a much normalized and miniaturized event compared to the one celebrated back in India. Still I am happy that I get to celebrate Diwali here. Even though I am out of India, India is not out of me.
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