Diwali celebrations: Fireworks, lights and mountains of food

Diwali is one of the most important events in the Hindu spiritual calendar. It is known as the “Festival of Lights” and takes place between mid October and mid November each year, CNN reports.

This year we asked iReporters from around the world to submit their best images of the celebration and the stunning result is featured in the gallery above.

The name “Diwali” is a contraction of the word Deepavali, which means row of lights in Sanskrit. During the holiday, candles and oil lamps called “diyas” are lit to commemorate the legend of the return of the Hindu god Rama to his kingdom after 14 years in exile after murdering the ten-headed demon Ravana.

In India the goddess Lakshmi is also celebrated during the holiday and colorful rangolis — decorative floor designs made of sand — are made in her honor.

“Most people buy the sand and make their own, or they buy ready-made stencils,” said Manish Kanojia, whose stunning photos from in and around Delhi are represented in the gallery.

Diwali is not just celebrated in India. In cities around the world that have substantial Indian populations Diwali is part of the events calendar and is celebrated by Indians and non-Indians alike.

“Deepavali in Singapore is a great event visited by visitors and locals alike and not just Indians,” said Monika Khaled, who moved from Austria to Singapore in 2006.

The 38-year-old writer submitted her first iReport featuring numerous colorful photos of the bazaar in Singapore’s “Little India” district.

For Roger Seepersad, a 23-year-old Hindu from Trinidad and Tobago, Diwali is the perfect opportunity to take photographs as the festival is so centred around light.

“Trinidad and Tobago has a large Hindu population, so Diwali is very big,” said the student and freelance journalist.

“Here, the Hindu community celebrates by cleaning their houses and preparing foods such as roti, channa and aloo, white rice, and various vegetable curries. They also prepare sweets like parsad, kurma and barfi. At around 6pm, they light deyas around their houses. Hindus invite friends and family over to help with the diya lighting and to just enjoy each other’s company … At night there is usually tons of fireworks as well,” he added.

For the original report go to  http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/Diwali-celebrations-Fireworks-lights-and-mountains-of-food#ixzz2C92ODv00

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