The significance of Diwali or Deepavali is deeply rooted in the Hindu culture and associated with the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after his victory over Ravan, the demon king of Lanka. When the news of His arrival reached the citizens of Ayodhya, they spontaneously celebrated by lighting oil lamps or diyas to welcome Him back. The city of Ayodhya transformed from the darkness in which it was shrouded for 14 long years, into a city of lights and knowledge that symbolized the avatar of Lord Ram.
As per the sacred epic Ramayana, Lord Ram was sent into exile for 14 years the day before He was supposed to be crowned as the king of Ayodhya. He was accompanied by His wife Sita ji, the Mother of the Universe, and His loyal brother Lakshman. During their exile, Mother Sita was abducted by Ravan, which resulted in a fierce and epic battle between Lord Ram and Ravan. The Lord’s army had many brave, loyal, and dedicated soldiers like the Rudravatar Hanuman, the fearless Angad, and thousands of monkeys ecstatic to serve Lord Ram and receive His blessings for eternity. Saint Tulsidas has described numerous glorious leelas or pastimes of the Lord and His sevaks in the Lankakand of the Ram Charit Manas. Each leela, and the battle itself, symbolizes the victory of good over evil or the triumph of the light of knowledge over the darkness of ignorance.
Following His victory, Lord Ram, Mother Sita, Lakshman ji, Hanuman ji, and the monkey army returned to Ayodhya in a celestial vehicle called Pushpak Vimana which previously belonged to Ravan. They chose to fly the Pushpak Viman due to the urgency to return to Ayodhya before the exile period of 14 years ended. This was because Lord Ram’s very loyal and devoted brother, Bharat ji had sworn to end his life by burning himself on a funeral pyre if Lord Ram did not return home to take back the kingdom for which he served as the caretaker.
When Lord Ram and His followers returned to their kingdom of Ayodhya, the residents were ecstatic beyond belief. They welcomed their beloved prince and his companions back home. They enthusiastically lit diyas or oil lamps throughout the city to celebrate their return and the Lord’s victory over Ravan. The illumined lamps symbolized the victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil. This tradition of lighting diyas or lamps during Diwali continues to this day and is one of the central aspects of the Festival of Lights. This historical context makes Diwali a significant festival for Hindus worldwide.
Diwali is a festival that unites people regardless of their religious or regional differences. It is a time to spread love, joy, and goodwill. Diwali is celebrated in India in all its glory with a combination of traditional and modern celebrations to engage people of all ages in a variety of activities. Spanning several days, Diwali brings families and friends together, providing opportunities to spend quality time with each other, bond, share stories, and strengthen family ties. People often travel to be with their families on this auspicious occasion marked by devotional and enjoyable events.
Before the start of this festival, people thoroughly clean and decorate their homes as a symbolic gesture to welcome the goddess of wealth and fortune. It is believed that the goddess steps into homes that are spick and span, inviting with a beautiful rangoli at the entrance or porch, diyas all around the house, and other decorations that beautify the home. The symbolism lies in removing the unwholesome thoughts from the heart and decorating it with pure and divine intentions.
A vast majority of people perform special prayers and poojas on specific days during Diwali. This includes worship of Lord Ganesh, Goddess Lakshmi, and Mother Durga. It is customary for people to buy and wear new clothes during Diwali. This symbolizes the idea of starting anew and looking one's best for the festivities. Families participate in the tradition of giving and receiving gifts during Diwali. Usually, parents give gifts of money, clothes, or jewelry to their children and younger members of the family. Families and friends also exchange sweets (i.e., confections), dry fruits, and various presents as tokens of love and affection when they visit each other at their homes.
Diwali is also a time for indulging in delicious and special cuisines and delicacies. Families prepare a variety of sweets, snacks, and savory dishes. Different regions of India have their own unique Diwali delicacies. The rich Indian culture offers an amazing array of delicacies to savor.
Fireworks are a major part of Diwali celebrations all over India. People burst fireworks to add to the festive atmosphere, and the night sky is often filled with dazzling displays of light.
Diwali is celebrated by Indian diaspora communities around the world in various ways, typically involving lighting lamps, exchanging gifts, and preparing traditional Indian sweets and dishes. While the core customs remain consistent, local adaptations and variations exist, with some communities incorporating elements of their host countries into the celebrations. Diwali outside of India serves as a unifying cultural festival and an opportunity for people to share the essence of Indian traditions and the spirit of light, love, and togetherness with their local communities.
In the United States, Diwali has gained increasing recognition and is celebrated by both the Indian American community and at the national level. During President Barack Obama's time in the White House, Diwali was celebrated annually. The Obamas hosted Diwali celebrations that included lighting the ceremonial lamp, cultural performances, and traditional Indian food. These events aimed to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of the Indian American community while promoting diversity and multiculturalism in the United States.
At the national level, the U.S. Postal Service issued commemorative Diwali stamps, and various government officials, including the President, extended warm wishes to those celebrating the festival. These celebrations in the White House and broader recognition of Diwali reflect the growing importance of the festival as a cultural and religious celebration in the United States and its significance in promoting unity and diversity.
The Diwali Mela is one Combined Event of the Year for the Greater DFW Community. It is organized by a community of partners from local Hindu organizations that joined hands to support the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) and the DFW-ICS. The festival offers an excellent opportunity to participate in a variety of activities for lots of fun, entertainment, immense pride in our cultural heritage, a little devotion, and tons of gratitude. Here is your comprehensive guide to the specific activities of the Diwali Mela 2023.
Swami Mukundananda is the founder of JKYog, a global organization with centers, ashrams, and temples around the world including the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen). He is on a divine mission to transform the lives of people through wisdom so they too can lead truly purposeful and successful lives. Swamiji will deliver a highly inspirational message as the entire DFW community unites to celebrate this grand and majestic festival.
Swamiji is regularly invited by prestigious academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies to deliver inspirational lectures. Some selected academic institutions include Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Duke, Kellogg School of Management, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has also been invited to speak at various Fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Microsoft Corporation, Google, Oracle, Intel, Apple, and Yahoo.
The very talented Bollywood singers Jyotica Tangri (of the Pallo Latake fame), Amit Mishra (of the Bulleya fame), and Yazin Nizar (of the Naattu Koothu fame) will perform just for us! Get your dancing shoes ready and swing with the crowd for this most-awaited concert!
This Festival of Lights will be symbolized not just through the traditional diyas but a beautiful blend of modern symbols like electric lights, a laser show, and jazzy fireworks in the stadium. We want you to enjoy the dazzling Laser Show in a rainbow of colorful lights as well as the fireworks display that is the hallmark of Diwali. This year, the fireworks will be synced with lively Bollywood songs and music that has never been done before in any Diwali festival.
The Diwali Mela is an excellent opportunity for local artists and performers to showcase their unique talents through a variety of activities that represent the rich cultural traditions of India.
The theater-style stage performance on the Ram Leela will be a showstopper! Local artists will portray the various key characters and moments from Lord Ram’s leelas or pastimes that will be a combination of entertainment and devotion. How can a Diwali celebration that rejoices in the victory of Lord Ram over the 10-headed Ravan be complete without Ravan Dahan? Rejoice in the excitement of the 20-ft Ravan effigy and Ravan Dahan as an integral part of this festival. In addition, the lively Victory Parade will be a sight for sore eyes as community members unite to offer a symbolic welcome to Lord Ram back to Ayodhya after winning the war of good over evil!
A huge variety of exhilarating carnival rides and exciting activities has been planned for kids. These include the Bounce House, balloon artist, face painting, games like the spinning wheel, photo booth, and various kinds of Rides like the Pirate Ship ride, a mechanical bull ride, and so much more! See some images below to get an idea of the fun waiting for kids!
We invite you to take pride in the cultural diversity of Diwali Mela 2023, not only in terms of people from different backgrounds, spoken languages, different spiritual beliefs, and variety in traditions but also in the amazing and delightful cuisines, fashion trends, crafts, rangoli, and so much more!
This is an Open Invitation to the DFW Community. Please join us for the grand Diwali Mela 2023!
If you have not already purchased your Tickets, it is not too late! Secure your spot by purchasing your tickets today online or from the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (1450 N Watters Rd, Allen, TX 75013) or any of the Indian stores and/or restaurants listed on the above-noted website.
We look forward to seeing you for an enchanting Diwali experience!