DIWALI, the most popular and well-known Hindu festival, will be celebrated this year on October 28. The festival is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs. I would like to share my intentions with fellow Silhillians, as we prepare for the holy festival.
In fact Diwali is a five-day event during which time, the Hindus will purify their homes, light divas as greetings to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth; exchange gifts; share festive meals and generally socialise with family and friends. However, amid the merriment is a strong purpose of community and religious significance.
The Diwali period starts with Dhan-teras - the day associated with the creation of wealth and prosperity. On this day, I will be extending my prayers beyond family and community. I will be asking Goddess Lakshmi to direct more wealth towards the needy in our borough.
On the second day, I will thank Lord Krishna for defeating the tyrant ruler Narakasura and creating social justice and I will ask for social justice to be spread around the borough, and for the strength to tackle the tyrants hiding amongst us.
On the main Diwali day, I will ask for Spirit Lord Rama's feat of defeating the evil Ravana to spread amongst us. Let there be a strong desire within us to overcome the dark elements in our borough. I will also be asking Lord Rama to spread rejuvenation within us to improve relationships.
On the New Year day, along with family and friends I will attend a special ceremony called Annkut at the temple in Tyseley.
Hindus will bring freshly made, special meals to the temple; lay them in front of god for blessing; and then everything will be shared by all people present. Instead of prayers, I turn to you and I ask you to join us at the temple. Come and enjoy the festivities on October 29.
On the fifth day, Bhai-Bij is observed as a symbol of the bond between sisters and brothers. On this sacred day, brothers will visit their sisters' houses to celebrate the day. So, I will be at my sister's for a meal.
Well, on this day, allow me to be selfish. No prayers, nor invitations. When it comes to enjoying my sister's culinary delights, I am afraid there is no sharing this time.
Mahendra Dabhi, MSc, FRSA Chairman - Solihull Faiths Forum Readers are invited to the massive Diwali Celebration on Sunday, 9 November 2008 (3-7pm) at Millennium Point, Birmingham. Free entry. Usual food, music, dance and fantastic fireworks.