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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in India Lesson 21 - Festival of Lights
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in India Series at HindiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hindi holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 21, Festival of Lights. In Hindi, it’s called Diwali or Deepavali.
Do you know about the Indian festival in which people spread light across their town using earthen lamps? This festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik, which spans from mid-October to mid-November.
We are talking about the Festival of Lights, Diwali. It’s celebrated with great excitement all across India.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Two days after Diwali comes a special day for brothers and sisters. Do you know what this is?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
On a moonless twenty days after Dussehra comes the celebration of light, Diwali, where people in homes across India light earthen lamps filled with mustard oil or clarified butter, called Ghee. Lamps, or Diyye, candles, or Mombatti, and lights can be seen everywhere. In the evening, whole families take part in praying to the Goddess Lakshmi, and afterwards they light firecrackers and sparklers together, lighting up the dark, moonless sky in every region.
In some communities this is a time to worship the Goddess Lakshmi, while in others people worship the Goddess Kali on this day. This festival is known as the day when Lord Ram completed his fourteen-year exile and finally returned home. Jains celebrate this as the day their last prophet, Lord Mahavira, attained enlightenment. Sikhs celebrate it as the day when Sikh Guru Hargobind escaped prison and returned to the Golden Temple. Thus this day is celebrated by different communities in various ways. For some, this is also the start of a new year.
Two days prior to Diwali comes Dhanteras. On this day people clean out their houses, decorate their homes, and donate utensils and clothes to the poor. The following day is 'Small Diwali', when people make Rangoli designs in their homes and light fourteen lamps. Then comes the main day of Diwali. People make huge purchases around Diwali and stores offer special discounts, or Chooth. Diwali is celebrated joyously amidst the company of loved ones, features delicious foods and sweets, and is brightly lit by all the lamps and firecrackers.
Special firecrackers are sold just for Diwali, such as the Vishnu Chakra, which rotates and scatters light, Anar which throws up fountains of light, and the Sutli Bomb, which is banned in many countries due to the huge boom it makes when it explodes.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Two days after Diwali comes a special day for brothers and sisters. Do you know what this is?
This is Bhaiya Duj, which celebrates the relationship held between siblings. Sisters pray for the long life of their brothers, and apply a sandalwood mark on their foreheads.
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