Star Anise Celebrates Diwali - The Festival of Lights
Celebrating India's biggest festival of the year — in Hong Kong!
By guest contributor, Nathanael Hon, student intern from English Schools Foundation, Hong Kong.
Diwali is a five-day long festival in India and is also known as "the festival of lights". It has immense significance in the ancient religions of Sikhism, Hinduism and Jainism (Jain Dharma). The name, Diwali, is derived from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali”, meaning "rows of lighted lamps".
Diyas, which are small earthenware lamps filled with oil, are lit in long rows outside houses across India, symbolising inner protection against spiritual darkness.
Other celebrations of Diwali involve dressing up in fine clothing, exchanging gifts, cleaning and decorating the house with rangoli, an art form in which colourful patterns/drawings are created using materials such as rice flour, limestone powder, colored rocks or quartz powder. Additionally, windows and doors are kept open, to allow Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth into the household and bless the residents with fortune and success.
The festival of Diwali starts on the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of the lunar month Karttika, lasting for a total of five days, with different customs and celebrations occurring each day.
With special thanks goes to Star Anise team members, Amrita Hardikar and Swati Karanji, for giving us a window into their cultural heritage, as they organised delicious food and beautiful decorations around office and prepared a detailed and fascinating presentation on Diwali's origins.