Obama Celebrating Diwali
U.S. President Barack Obama smiles after signing an Executive Order restoring the White House Advisory Commission and Interagency Working Group, and observing Diwali in the East Room of the White House in Washington, October 14, 2009.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most important festivals in India and is mainly observed by the Hindus. Also known as Deepavali or Deepabali, Diwali marks the homecoming of Rama, the king of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile in the forest where he defeated Ravana. The king was greeted back by the people of Ayodhya with lights. The word ‘Deepavali’ gets its form from the conjunction of the two terms ‘deep’ (lamps) and ‘avali’ (lines or rows). This festival of lights also signifies the illumination of our inner souls as well as the celebration of the destruction of the evil. But the Jains, Buddists, Sikhs, who all have different significance for the festival. Lord Mahavira whom the Jains worship attained nirvana on this day. In Sikhism, Diwali is important as Guru Har Govind Ji returned from the imprisonment of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Diwali is also popularly observed in Nepal. Diwali is celebrated across the globe in USA, UK, Australia, Canada and many other countries.
In Bengal, Diwali is connected to Kalipuja, which takes place on the new moon that follows three weeks from the starting of Durga Puja. Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the autumn, and Kali Puja probably is the second biggest. The eve of Kalipuja, known as the ‘Bhoot-Chaturdashi’ (Bhoot: ghosts or souls; Chaturdashi: 14 th day) is the night when the souls of the deceased is believed to visit the earth and 14 candles are lighted in memories of the deceased soul. Kalipuja is also the night of worshiping the deadly-beautiful and powerful goddess Kali. It is believed to be the night when the ghosts and spirits are at loose. It is the most important new moon of the year to the believers of dark magic and necromancy. Kalipuja is celebrated in the autumn, and in the last new moon of the Bengali month ‘Ashwin’ or the first one of the Bengali month ‘Kartick’. And interestingly it is right around the autumn harvest. Kalipuja, though has connection to the dangerous and the dark. is also the time of fireworks and crackers.
(Deuteronomy 18:9-12 ) "When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.