Today is Deepavali, or the festival of lights. Deepavali is the original word for this festival that is used in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. As it spread throughout India, the name was shortened to the more common form in Hindi, Diwali. Deepa means light and vali means row, so the name literally means row of lights. It is the most important festival in all parts of India except Kerala and Bengal.
Deepavali symbolizes a culture that values knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness and goodness over evil. Today it symbolizes hope, friendship and the joy of life. It is a time for friendship and sharing. Even though this is a cultural holiday, Goddess Lakshmi is the main deity who brings wealth and prosperity to every home. The sweet smelling herb tulasi (basil) is grown in most houses in Kerala and Tamil Nadu which people believe represents the Goddess Lakshmi.
I wish you happy Deepavali with best wishes for a prosperous year.
To find out more about the story of how Deepavali came to be celebrated, click here.
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