Hindus gathered at Radha Krishna Temple in Kericho town for special prayers on eve of the Diwali celebrations, one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar.
The Diwali Festival which will be marked beginning Thursday 4th November will bring together men, women, and children all smartly dressed in their cultural wears for prayers and dinner after which fireworks displays will follow during the festivities full of pomp and colour.
This is according to the Kericho Radha Krishna Temple Priest Deepak Pandya, who also mentioned that the five-day-long festival period will include charitable works by the Hindu community to the less fortunate within Kericho town by donating foodstuff and clothes noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has strained many families economically.
Priest Pandya who took the KNA team round the Temple, expressed his excitement over the auspicious Hindu festival of lights, Diwali also refers to as Deepavali, celebrated all around the globe by different communities bringing joy and prosperity, symbolizing the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and happiness over sorrow.
“People prepare for Diwali by cleaning their homes, buying new clothes, jewelry, and other appliances, decorating with Diya, flowers, and lights, making rangolis, and eating lots of delicacies,” Priest Pandya added.
The Priest further revealed that one of the most significant rituals of this festival is the Lakshmi Puja that gives the devotees a chance to pray to the Goddess of Wealth on this day for blessing them with health, wealth, and prosperity.
“People also visit their families, relatives, and friends on this day to offer them gifts and sweets during Diwali,” pointed out Priest Pandya.
Priest Pandya narrated the history of the festival indicating that while many deities are synonymous with Diwali, the day’s story mainly revolves around the demon king, Narakasur who is said to have 16,000 girls while also snatching earrings of various Goddesses.
“It is believed he had also defeated Krishna, but a day before Naraka Chaturdashi, Lord Krishna defeated the demon and also freed the girls. As such, the day is celebrated to mark the mighty win of Lord Krishna over the demon king,” added Priest Pandya.
Diwali’s date is determined by the India calendar and changes every year, ranging from October to November usually observed on the 15th day of the 8th month which is the month of Kartik in India’s calendar and the day must be an Amavasya or ‘new moon day’ which is the period when the moon opposes the sun’s light by up to 12°.
The Diwali celebrations run for 5 days with each day typically having different rituals and traditions. On the first day, they clean, purchase gold and metal.
On the second day, they decorate and create rangolis. On the third day, which is the most important, they celebrate, then on the fourth day, they celebrate the love between husbands and wives, and on the final day they celebrate brothers and sisters.
During the occasion, Hindus dress up, light up their homes, temples, and businesses with oil lamps and candles (diyas) and worship Lakshmi. They also light fireworks and enjoy a feast with their family, sharing sweets (mithai) and gifts.
Often people will leave the windows and doors of their houses open so that Lakshmi can come in and bless them with wealth and prosperity. Also, in honor of Lakshmi, many build a small altar to the goddess, decorate it with money and pray to her.
Although Diwali is originally celebrated by Hindus, it is also marked by other religions in India, including Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists.
By Kibe Mburu and Bygeon Alfric