Diwali Marked in Asia with Celebrations, Prayers

An ethnic Tamil woman prays holding a tray of oil lamps during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena).

NEW DELHI (AP) — Millions of people across Asia are celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, which symbolizes new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
The festival is celebrated mainly in India, but Hindus across the world, particularly in other parts of Asia, also gather with family members and friends to socialize, visit temples and decorate houses with small oil lamps made from clay. The festival is also marked by raucous parties and fireworks displays, often throughout the night.




People light lamps on the banks of the river Saryu in Ayodhya, India, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Millions of people across Asia are celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, which symbolizes new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. The celebrations were especially spectacular in Ayodhya city in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where over 900,000 earthen lamps were lit at the banks of the Saryu River as desk fell Wednesday. Hindus believe the city is the birthplace of god Ram. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Like every year, India has been lit up in a dazzling display of lights and colors. Brightly colored rangoli designs are drawn at the entrances of homes and offices, which are decked in fairy lights.
The celebrations were especially spectacular in Ayodhya city in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where over 900,000 earthen lamps were lit on the banks of the Saryu River as desk fell Wednesday. Hindus believe the city is the birthplace of the god Ram.




Hindu devotees ring a bell as they pray at a temple during Diwali, the festival of lights, in Hong Kong, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

In eastern Ahmedabad city in Gujarat state, devotees worshipped their account books as the festival also marks the start of the new Hindu financial year.




Hindu devotees climb the colored stairs to pray at the Batu Caves temple during the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Diwali is one of Hinduism's most important festivals, dedicated to the worship of the goddess of wealth Lakshmi. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

The day was marked as Tihar, also known as Deepawali, in neighboring Nepal. There, the five-day celebrations began Tuesday and people thronged markets and shopped for marigold flowers, which hold huge cultural significance during the festival. On Wednesday, devotees celebrated dogs that are regarded as the guardian of the Hindu death god Yama. 

In Malaysia, Hindu devotees prayed at temples and lit clay oil lamps. Some climbed the colored stairs to pray at the Batu Caves temple just north of Kuala Lumpur to pay homage to their deity, Lord Muruga.




A Nepalese woman puts marigold petals on a police dog during Tihar festival celebrations at a kennel division in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. The festival is marked as Tihar, also known as Deepawali, in neighboring Nepal. There, the five-day celebrations began Tuesday and people thronged markets and shopped for marigold flowers, which hold huge cultural significance during the festival. On Wednesday, devotees celebrated dogs that are regarded as the guardian of the Hindu death god Yama. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

People also celebrated with friends and families in Indonesia, Japan and Taiwan. 

Diwali marks Hindu god Ram's return to his kingdom after 14 years in exile. Hindus believe that during Diwali the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, will visit their homes if they are illuminated and decorated.




Pathik Bhalodiya, 4, gets help from his mother Shital, members of an Indian family living in Japan, to hold a piece of firework as they celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, at a park in Tokyo, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. The festival is celebrated mainly in India but Hindus across the world, particularly in other parts of Asia, also gather with family members and friends to socialize, visit temples and decorate houses with small oil lamps made from clay. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

The Diwali festival is also observed among Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. While each religion marks the festival with different historical events and legends, they all represent the victory of good over evil.
 




A devotee prepares fruits and flower offerings to Hindu Goddess Lakshmi during the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali at Vishnu temple in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

 

#Interfaith is a self-paced, online learning opportunity designed to equip a new generation of leaders with the awareness and skills to promote interfaith cooperation online. The curriculum is free to Interfaith America readers; please use the scholarship code #Interfaith100. #Interfaith is presented by IFYC in collaboration with ReligionAndPublicLife.org.

 

more from IFYC

The Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol drew recent attention to the phenomenon of Christian nationalism, but religious and spiritual leaders acknowledge its existence long before that.
A new interfaith curriculum designed for Christian universities and seminaries recently got a test run. One professor who tried it says it's opened hearts and minds: "The desire is very much there."
"The only way we can move to a true Beloved Community is in telling the truth about what this country has done, including, notably, the intense racism that has driven voting rights," the Rev. Adam Russell Taylor writes.
The Rev. Karen Brau, pastor of Luther Place, told the small crowd gathered in the melting snow that despite the harassment they experienced a year prior, the faith leaders never stopped their prayerful witness.
These are some of those prayers said in and around the Capitol that day, collected by Religion News Service from videos, public documents, interviews and news reports.
The Pontifical Academy for Life has become the most attacked Vatican department online.
A national bridgebuilding field has flourished over the past decade to confront the profound dangers posed by American polarization. Can it hold truth and empathy side by side?
Though data is sparse, the church and Italian atheists agree that the 2-decade-old process is becoming more common.
The author began practicing Buddhism while in prison, meditating daily and keeping a gratitude journal. He now aims to help other convicts as a field minister through the North Carolina Field Minister Program.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.