November 4th, 2013
02:54 PM ET

The lights of Diwali: From candles to lanterns to full-blown fireworks

By Stina Backer and Matthew Ponsford, for CNN

(CNN) - Fireworks boom, bulbs flash, and flames flicker as tens of millions of people across the globe celebrate the beginning of the Festival of Lights.

Diwali - from the word Deepavali, meaning "row of lights" - is observed by Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities, who celebrate for five days in autumn to mark the victory of light over darkness.

This year, the festival begins on November 3, with splashes of color, lighting displays and blaring parties set to greet Diwali's arrival.

Celebrated for centuries across much of the Indian subcontinent, Diwali is now exploding: spreading the promise of wealth, knowledge and happiness to new communities across the world.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Hinduism

soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 11, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  2. Reality # 2

    I am a jobless troll. Please ask me to stay off these boards.

    November 7, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Reality # 2

      From the original Reality #2:

      As good students, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

      November 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • Matrix

        Why do you assume rational thinking people don't want a second look at the above topics?

        November 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    it's be great if the hindu religion was all about lights and dancing and celebrations...

    hinduism teaches that the poorest people, the Dalits, are "untouchable". they make up about 20% of the population of the country. they are spiritually dirty. according to hinduism, there are four classes of people, each representing a different part of god's body. Dalits are considered outside the societal structure. they are treated terribly by the rest of the population, who will not even eat or drink with them, nor use the same restroom. dalits are not even allowed in the temples and priests won't touch them, literally. this is all part of the hindu religion. dalits are considered to have sinned in a past life, so they are reborn as an untouchable. untouchables are supposed to serve the higher classes and live a cr@ppy life of misery to atone for their past sins. if they are good servants and don't complain about their inhumane treatment by other hindus, they will be born into a higher class in their next life.

    it's absolutely disgusting how terribly these people are treated by their fellow hindus. their only crime is being born into poverty. even ghandi fought against dalit rights, even went on a hunger strike to protest dalits being given power of their own. he won out, the dalit leader backed down because he knew if ghandi died in this hunger strike, the higher classes would slaughter dalits across india. thousands had already been killed. ghandi fought some great fights, but he left the dalits out in the rain.

    anyway, just some thoughts on hinduism...

    November 6, 2013 at 2:58 am |
    • Sara

      Hinduism has no single core text and no universal form. Certainly some Hindus believe this, but it is not a fundamental tenet of some fundamental 'hinduism' and is outlawed by India's Hindu majority government which gives Dalits strong preferential treatment. That said, it is the major embarrassment of much of Hinduism and, given the strong intellectual and scientific movements within the religion, probably the only reason Hinduism hasn't spread further in the last century.

      November 6, 2013 at 7:05 am |
      • mzh

        India’s Enduring Hindu-Muslim Contest:

        500 BC – 550 AD: Kingdoms and Empires

        Indian history stretches back 4,500 years to the Indus Valley civilization centered on the banks of the Indus River in northern India. Hindu culture began around 1500 BC, with the arrival of the Aryans, Central Asian nomads whose pantheon, caste system, and sacred “Vedas” — oral hymns, worship manuals and philosophies — are strongly reflected in today’s Hindu religion.

        By the 6th century BC, the Kingdom of Magadha, strategically situated along Ganges trade routes, had extended into central and eastern India. Within a century, large kingdoms based on Vedic culture had begun to form throughout northern India. In 321 BC, just after Alexander the Great’s invasion of India, Magadha was seized by Chandragupta Maurya, who expanded it into what would become the first great Hindu empire, the Mauryan Empire. Under Chandragupta’s grandson Asoka, the Mauryan Empire reached its territorial limit, before breaking up into smaller states. More than half a millennium later, another Chandragupta once again succeeded in unifying most of India. Deemed the Hindu Golden Age, the resulting Gupta Empire (AD 320-550) led to a flowering of literature, science and technology. But as with its Mauryan predecessor, the Gupta Empire’s fall ushered in an era of warring states.


        November 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

          The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

          ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

          and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

          and more recently

          1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

          1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

          2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

          3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

          4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

          5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

          6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

          7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

          8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

          9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

          10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

          11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

          12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

          13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

          14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

          15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

          16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

          17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

          18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

          19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

          20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

          21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

          22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

          23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

          o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
          BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
          The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

          25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

          (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

          26 ) September 12, 2012
          Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

          27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life.

          November 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Snow

      Actually, none of what you say is true.. the untouchable aspect of hinduism has been abolished more than a century ago in India. People looking down on other people does not happen at many places. Some use it these days only to gain power over other people. It is akin to racism against blacks still being an issue in smaller communities in this country.

      Also, Gandhi did not fight against dalit rights. He fought against assigning a separate electorate for dalits, which would further alienate dalits from the rest of the country. If you can imagine the bad consequences of confining a section of population into a geographical region, you would understand why it made sense at that time.

      November 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Sarv

      It might have it's evils, though it has never propagated itself like Christianity, forcibly converting millions globally.
      From the Residential School System in Canada to loss of aboriginal culture in Australia.
      The list is endless.

      Time too peep into self history before pointing faults in other religions...
      Hindusim continues to be a Way of life...It has ever forced itself upon others.

      November 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • STFU

      Shut the BootyFúck Up

      November 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      To be fair about the situation:

      (Only for the newbies)

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      November 6, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Agnostickids

      No bootyfunk, that rant wasn't some "thoughts on hinduism" it was an opinion.

      Oh, and if you're going to get all huffy about Hinduism, at least learn how to spell Gandhi. Appearing uneducated only makes you an unreliable source.

      November 7, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • santosh

      with due respect it is not written anywhere in the Vedas or Puranas regarding dalits or untouchables....It were the kings who wanted to claim superiority over religion made such caste systems.....

      November 14, 2013 at 8:46 am |
  4. Apple Bush

    sweet smelling flowers roam the sidewalks
    while big bellied dandelions platoon;

    the spring rains are falling a funny tune at the expense
    of a funny man;

    stepping on and off the curb, looking a bit bored;
    eyes up and shoes flexed for the sprint

    suddenly bright sun elbows its way between two clouds;
    a funny man flaps his ready feat into a small puddle and smiles

    the sun was sweet;
    it tasted warm on his tongue and eye lids

    he looked to the heavens to say thank you
    thunder and a bolt of lightening

    a funny man was struck down
    umbrella at the ready; lips still smiling

    November 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Julie

      I like it. Especially the part about the sunlight, you have a little synesthesia working in your favor here. I like the creativity too.

      November 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.