The energy for this Diwali is about regeneration from endings that have happened for us. Some endings have been difficult to accept and as you reflect over the year that has been, some of the endings have led to more love, relationships, creativity and new opportunities, while others have left us needing to find the connection back to ourselves. Diwali 2023 is also a time to break old cycles and purify ourselves for the new connections we will make through the process of regeneration on all levels.
- Diwali Day 1: November 10th
- Diwali Day 2: November 11th
- Diwali Day 3: November 12th – DIWALI DAY
- Diwali Day 4: November 13th
- Diwali Day 5: November 14th
The true Sanskrit name for the Festival of Lights is Deepavali, shortened and known as Diwali in Northern parts of India and internationally. More than 1 billion people celebrate Diwali over the world and the energy at that time of the year can bring change and blessings for all those who wish to participate in any way.
Diwali is a festival that has been celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists around the world for more than 2500 years. The name itself means ‘row of lights’. The day itself has many versions of Hindu mythology as to why this day is celebrated but the fundamental meaning is the light over dark always wins, good over evil prevails and knowledge and wisdom over any ignorance.
Diwali is celebrated annually but unlike many festivals it falls on a different day each year. It is however always in October or November depending on the position of the moon. Families and friends will gather over food and offerings and the celebration extends out to five days of festivities which will start on November 10th this year. Gaia Chinniah of Soul33 has celebrated the festival with her family for as long as she can remember. She explains “The sanskrit word Deepavali means a ‘row of lights’. This is why many are familiar with Diwali being the Festival of Lights. What it really represents is an ancient mythological story where there was a return of power and the light led the way back into our lives. In essence it’s a celebration that there is always a light even on our darkest days and even when we feel there is no hope, the ultimate trust will shine the light down the path that leads us back to our own power, abundance and faith”.
Diwali always falls on a New Moon and this is why the date of the festival changes, but always falls between October and November. “The New Moon means the sky is dark, and we are to create our own light to see” explains Gaia. “This is why traditional clay lamps are lit, there are fireworks displays and homes are filled with constant light over the celebration” she adds.
When Gaia was growing up in Malaysia, “Diwali was our Christmas” she explains. “While gifts weren’t exchanged it was traditional to receive money from family members, as part of the festival is to call in abundance into our lives. There would be an array of food, new clothing and what we would call an ‘open home’. Our home would be open to all friends, family and neighbours to join together and eat with us. It was a bringing together of everyone. People would come all day long to eat and celebrate. As a family we would light lamps together showing unity and that the light brings us back together. What I also loved is that the house would have oil lamps going all night creating this beautiful ambience.”
The symbolism of Diwali has never been more significant in modern times, “I love the rich history of the festival and what it represents. The spiritual nature of it, that even though we all go through dark times that we can find our way” says Gaia.
Although traditionally celebrated by those of the Hindu faith, the celebration of the Festival of Lights has been gaining momentum for some time around the world. “I think like any festival of any faith there is something we can all learn from why these festivals or celebrations began. At the end of the day, Diwali is about hope, faith, light and togetherness”.
If we wish to celebrate the Festival of Lights in our own homes this year, Gaia has given us a guide for the five days of festivities that we can all embrace:
- Day One: Nov 10th – This is the day prior to the festival day and preparations begin by cleaning and clearing the homes, new clothing may be laid out, and a new beginning in large or small ways depending on the resources within the family who are celebrating. Usually, preparations can start months before much like Christmas. How we can use this time to prepare is to see this time as the preparations for the New Year based on the Gregorian calendar. It’s nice to start ushering in the positive energy before the current year ends. You may want to use this time to clean and clear also.
- Day Two: Nov 11th – This is a perfect time to light a candle or diya, which is a traditional clay lamp. This would be lit ensuring there is light all night ushering in the day of Diwali for the following day. This day is symbolic of always finding the light in the dark.
- Day Three: Nov 12th – is the day of celebration! Open houses and reunions of friends, neighbors and families eating and drinking together, monetary gifts in colourful envelopes given to children, a day where to wear your new clothing and be grateful for what you have and where you are going in life. It is a time to give and enjoy!
- Day Four: Nov 13th – is the New Moon and a day of gratitude and reunion with family.
- Day Five: Nov 14th – a day of siblings bonding, coming together and celebrating one another.
New Zealand has embraced the Diwali festival with a public event for many years now and will once again be held in Auckland’s Aotea Square on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of November.