28    Oct 20080 comments

Happy Diwali from the MyHeritage Team

It is that time of the year when all Hindu families across the world get busy to celebrate festivals. Today the 'Festival of Lights' Diwali is being celebrated across all parts of India.

What does Diwali mean?

Diwali derives its origin from the Sanskrit word "Deepawali"- Deepa meaning light, wali meaning row, hence row of lights.

Why is Diwali celebrated?

Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the home coming of Lord Rama to his kingdom Ayodhya after an exile period of 14 years.

How is Diwali Celebrated?

All the houses look beautiful as people illuminate their homes with candles, earthen diyas and luminous bulbs. As a part of preparation, people white-wash their homes and maintain cleanliness in their surroundings. Family members wear new clothes as it is generally believed that Diwali brings wealth, knowledge to their homes and removes the darkness of ignorance.

Diwali is celebrated differently by Indian families as India is a multi-cultural country. People in southern part of India usually take oil baths in the morning. In south India, people pray to goddess Lakshmi while in north India people pray to Lord Ram. In eastern India (areas like West Bengal etc.) there are special prayers for goddess Kali. It is generally believed that all Indian families wake up at 4am on Diwali day. In the evening, families and friends exchange sweets with each other. After the completion of holy prayers and exchange of sweets, crackers are burnt at night.

Diwali is also celebrated in various parts of the world, in countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Australia, much of Africa, and the United States. In London, this year's Diwali festival was celebrated on 19th October at Trafalgar Square. It was an event organized by the Greater London Authority.

The entire team at MyHeritage wishes you a very happy and a prosperous Diwali. Celebrate the festival with joy and let us all hope that this Diwali brings all the wealth and happiness to your homes.

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