Diwali Lantern – “Aakash Kandeel’’
IntroductionIndia, along with its varied cultures and traditions, is known as land of festivity. Celebration for these festivals centres on the rituals of prayer, seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, decorating houses, adorning new cloths, music and dance. Diwali (dip, meaning lights + aawali, meaning row) is the festival of “row of lights”, celebration of which finds its root in Hindu religion. It is believed that, Lord Rama was welcomed back by the subject of Ayodhya with lightning rows of lamps, diyas, after fourteen years of exile as he conquered "goodwill over evil", "the truth over falsity". The lighted diyas on Diwali also remind us of the teaching of the Hindu Upanishads which says Thamaso Maa Jyothir Gamaya – which means "Lead me from darkness to light". So light became the medium of expressing the truth, the metaphor for knowledge.Aakash KandeelDiwali is a favourably anticipated time of the year marked by various decorations adorning homes and streets. It is an important ritual to light countless flickering traditionally made earthen oil lamps with cotton wick and to keep them outside every doorstep all over the country. Along with the fireworks, diyas and the strings of colourful LED lights forms an illumination making it a night of enchantment. One of the most popular decorations which stand out to dispel darkness is paper lantern, Kandeel. It is a desi lantern with a framework of wooden or bamboo sticks enclosed in coloured papers. Decorated with the paper tails at its bottom, it blows in the evening breeze. In the festival, market is flooded with such traditional lanterns which are hung in front of homes during Diwali for around a month or so. Diyas and Aakash Kandeels are the significant part of this festival which are symbolic of the spiritual light dispelling evil and the darkness of ignorance. This Diwali lantern has been known by many names in addition to Aakash Kandeel: Goodu Deepa,...
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