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Transcript of Diwali
By April Jauri
What is it?
aka the 'Festival of Lights'
is as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians
primarily celebrates the victory of the forces of light over the forces of darkness
is associated with the legend of the Hindu god, Lord Rama, and his return to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after 14 years in exile
The Story of Rama and Sita
Rama was born as the first son of Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya. With Sita as his loving wife, he would soon step into his father's shoes and become king of Ayodhya himself.
However, Kaikeyi, the king's wife and Rama's stepmother, realizes that if Rama becomes king, she will lose her power. For this reason, she pleads to her husband to make her own son, Bharata, king and banish Rama to the forest for 14 years.
Remembering that the king owes her two favors and must fulfill his dharma, he agrees. As a result, Rama listens to his father and leaves for exile. However, he is happily joined by his wife and his half-brother Lakshmana.
Once in the forest, the three encounter Surpanakha, the sister of the demon Ravana. Once she see's how handsome Rama is, she begins to take a liking towards him.
So, she turns herself into a beautiful lady and asks Rama to marry her. When he refuses and tells her he is already married, she becomes angry and shows her true self and runs towards Sita to kill her.
Reacting quickly, Lakshmana advances and cuts off the she-demon's ears and nose.
Seeking help, she flees to her brother, Ravana.
However, hearing about Sita and her beauty, Ravana decides he wants her as a wife to himself.
To kidnap her, he places a beautiful deer in the forest, knowing that Sita would want Rama to go and catch it for her.
Once Sita is alone, Ravana baits her by disguising himself as a poor man. Once he has her, he kidnaps Sita and takes her to Lanka.
While Sita mourns in Ravana's garden in Lanka, Rama and Lakshamana take action and receive the help of Hanuman, the monkey king, to help them find her.
With his power of being able to make himself larger or smaller, Hanuman sets off by first taking a large step over the ocean to the island of Lanka.
Finding Sita, he identifies himself as Rama's messenger by showing her Rama's ring that he was carrying. Sita becomes excited, but Hanuman gets caught and Ravana set's his tail on fire. However, Hanuman escapes and sets fire to Lanka, making sure Sita is still stafe.
Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman, and his monkey army then charge to Lanka over the bridge that the monkey's had built.
After a long battle with spears, bows, and arrows, Rama finally kills Ravana with a special weapon given to him by the gods.
After the 14 years, the 3 went back to Ayodhya where Rama and Sita were crowned King and Queen. There were huge celebrations for their return to the kingdom. Everyone placed a light in their windows and doorways to show that the light of truth and goodness had defeated the darkness of evil and trickery.
Take Note: Hindus interpret the story behind Diwali differently based upon where they live.
So, what is the story behind it?
In North India, Hindu's celebrate Diwali based off the story of King Rama's return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps.
South India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
However, Diwali's significance is the same everywhere; to take awareness of the inner light and celebrate life, its enjoyment, and its goodness.
date celebrated falls between October and November on an Amavasya (moonless night)
This year, it starts on Sunday, November 3!
Diwali is a five-day affair and kicks of with Dhanteras.
Day 1: Dhanteras
'Dhan' means wealth, hence this day is considered auspicious for buying items related to riches like utensils or gold.
Celebrations: "Lakshmi-Puja" is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits
Day 2: Choti Diwali
Diwali on a smaller scale
a ritual puja to Goddess Lakshmi and also to Rama in the evening is performed. Songs in honor of the god are sung and aarti is performed.
Day 3: Lakshmi Puja
main Diwali celebration
day is devoted to Goddess Lakshmi - Goddess of Wealth
In the morning, the women of the house make beautiful, colored rangoli in the doorway and courtyard to welcome guests and the Goddess Lakshmi
Also on this day, firework festivities occur symbolizing the announcement of good over evil and to announce to the gods the joy of the people living on earth.
During this time, special sweet Indian foods are prepared and shared.
Gulab Jamun: Balls of dough served with sweet syrup
Kheer: A rice-and-milk dish flavored with almonds, cashew and saffron
Burfis: Sweets made from milk and sugar that are cut into shapes
Laddus: Fried semolina balls
Common Sweet Dishes:
Day 4: Padwa & Govardhan Puja
celebrated to thank Lord Krishna.
Legend says he saved the land of Gokul from Lord Indra, the god of rain. He held the whole village and livestock from being flooded from Lord Indra's wrath.
On this day, friends and family also visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
Day 5: Bhai Duj
day dedicated to strengthen the love between brothers and sisters
Brothers and sisters indulge themselves on this day by giving each other gifts
Chary, Vasantha. “Indian Foods Served During Diwali.” Life123. Life123, Inc. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <http://www.life123.com/holidays/more-holidays/diwali/indian-foods-served- during-diwali.shtml>
Gruenwald, Christine, and Mohit Johri. “Ram in Ramayana.” Sanatan Society. Sanatan Society. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. < http://www.sanatansociety.org/indian_epics_and_stories/ ramayana_ram.htm#.UlIYUyoldly>
Hora, Reenita. “Diwali, India's Festival of Light.” National Geographic Kids. National Geographic Society. Web. 3 Oct. 2013. < http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/ kids/stories/peopleplaces/diwali/>
“The Ramayana: A Telling Of the Ancient Indian Epic.” South Asia Center. Syracuse University. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. < http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/moynihan/sac /The_Ramayana_A_Telling_Of_the_Ancient_Indian_Epic/>
Vihar, Kendriya. “Five Days Of Diwali.” Diwali. Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India. Web. 3 Oct. 2013. <http://www.diwalifestival.org/scfi.html>