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HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS DEEPAWALI, EVERYONE ! by Shyam Amladi

Deepawali is celebrated each year in India and among the Hindu diaspora around the world on the 15th day of the Kartika month according to the Hindu calendar. This is the 5,116th Hindu year. In 2014, it falls on October 23rd. Deepawali, or Diwali in the colloquial version, is the festival of lights, to celebrate the triumph of Lord Raam over the evil king Ravana, the ten-headed king of Lanka, now called Srilanka. Lord Raam was from the Suryavanshi caste which hails from Rajasthan and is a sub-sect of the Kshatriya, or warrior caste in the Hindu caste system. A number of Hindu kings are from the Kshastriya caste. Mythology aside, Deepawali is one of the most celebrated festivals in India and worldwide among Hindus. Its importance is widespread. In addition to the usual pujas and oil-bath that is done to celebrate Deepawali, a few of the customary examples to commemorate Deepawali: • Hindus put on at least one new garment • Hindu accounting year starts on the day after Deepawali • Houses and streets are lit with clay lamps—tradition is that it was to welcome Lord Raam and his wife, Seeta, back to their kingdom in Ayodhya • Hindus exchange gifts and sweets not only amongst their own, but also among friends and business associates, irrespective of religious following • A number of deities are worshipped—principal among them is Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth So, to all of you, a very . . . . . . . .

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