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International Religious Holidays and Observances II

One of the most prominent of holidays in India is called Diwali. The entire country celebrates the festival in some way or another , from regional observances to following traditional expectations. In this article, you will learn more about the Festival of Lights, as well as a holy day associated with Christians and Roman Catholics.  

Diwali , India

Lasting for five days, Diwali (which translates into “rows of lighted lamps”) is a festival that takes place on the 15th day of Kartika. The celebration is also referred to the Festival of Lights because people will clean their homes and windows are opened in an attempt to welcome the goddess of wealth named Laksmi. To greet the goddess, candles and lamps are lit. During Diwali, people exchange gifts with one another and prepare festive meals. The holiday is associated with Buddhism, Hindus, and India, and is often compared to Christmas in importance. Diwali is also called Divali, Dewali, and Deepavali.

Since many different regions exist in India, the festival takes an array of forms. The typical celebration consists of five separate days of worship. The first is usually reserved for Laksmi, and is often referred to as Dhanteras. The second day is dedicated to Kali, where people worship the goddess of strength. The day is also meant to do away with evil and laziness.  

The third day of the festival also marks the last day of the year in the lunar calendar. Every home lights a lamp and allows it to shine brightly. The lamp serves as a symbol of knowledge and promotes the reflection of the different days of the festival. This is a time to remember the purpose throughout the year.

The fourth day of Diwali is spent settled old business accounts and getting ready for new business. The new books for the year are opened, as this is also the first day of the lunar New Year. The books become a part of the festival and are worshipped in a special ceremony. During this time, participants are encouraged to eliminate from their lives all of the anger, hate, and jealousy they may harbor. The final day of the festival is called Balipratipada and refers to an ancient Indian king named Bali. It was he who destroyed the philosophies of the society that had lasted many centuries ago. He is remembered as a generous person. The day is spent seeing the good in others, especially if they have been an enemy to you in the past.

The dates for this holiday are acknowledged on different days according the region of India. However, the festival always takes place in October or November.

All Saints’ Day , Christians and Roman Catholics

Western and Eastern churches celebrate the Christian holy day called All Saints’ Day on different days. Many Western churches observe the holy day on November 1 while Eastern churches mark their calendars for the first Sunday after Pentecost. Today, the day pays tribute to all saints of the church , a commemoration that dates back to 609 CE when Pope Boniface IV accepted the Pantheon as a gift from the Emperor Phocas.

Boniface made a dedication to the Church of Santa Maria Rotonda in honor of the Blessed Virgin and all martyrs. When Pope Gregory III reigned between 731 and 741, he expanded the festival to include all saints and a chapel in St. Peter’s church was dedicated in accordance. The day was officially designated in 837 , thanks to Pope Gregory IV. On this day, Roman Catholics are required to attend Mass, as well as “refrain from unnecessary servile work.”