Every year, my family and I would receive a knock on our door at around 8 AM. We'll open the door to be greeted by our lovely neighbours who came prepared with a delightful plate of traditional Indian sweets.
In the evening, we can hear the boisterous sounds of their relatives laughing and just having a great time. As we peek over to their place, we can see the beautiful lights decorating their interior. Their entrance floor is intricately designed with rangoli (floor art which involves vibrant powder colours). We'd spot mango leaves hang over their door too.
It's a stunning festival, a lively show of the rich culture celebrated by many around the world.
Though as an individual who does not actively participate in the lively affair... I wonder, what is Diwali?
Diwali is most commonly known as the Festival of Lights. It is celebrated all over the world not only by Hindus but by Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists as well.
Diwali captivatingly represents the triumph of light over darkness. The hero who stars in the story of Diwali is none other than Prince Rama, whose wife Sita, is a beautiful lady.
She was so beautiful that she caught the attention of the terrifying demon king, Ravana. He was said to have twenty arms and ten heads and was feared by many. And Ravana wanted to make Sita his wife.
Now, Ravana kidnapped Sita one day and Sita being a genius, left a trail of her jewellery behind for Prince Rama to track. Following the trail, Prince Rama met with the Monkey King, Hanuman. Hanuman then, as a show of friendship, sent messages to all the monkeys in the world, who in turn told the bears, to search for Sita.
Essentially, Sita was found imprisoned on an island and mighty battle soon begin. Prince Rama with a magic arrow killed Demon King Ravana, and the whole world rejoiced. As Prince Rama and Sita make their way home, oil lamps were lit to guide them on their way and welcome them back.
And that is how the Diwali is a remembrance of how light triumphs over darkness; good over darkness.
So behind every celebration, there is an interesting story to be told. A cultural practice usually carries a whole lot of meaning. If you find that meaning, that practice becomes much more meaningful.
So, on behalf of MYF SG, Happy Diwali to everyone who celebrates it!
Nur Fathin (@nrfathyn)
Intern, MYF (@myfsg)