GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Happy Hindu New Year

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The Hindu Festival of Lights, starting this year on Oct. 28, is like Christmas and New Year combined. And it’s celebrated not only in India, but wherever Indians have settled: the U.S., the U.K., Africa and South America.

Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is honored on Divali.

Learning about Divali online, though, can be a problem. Most Web sites for the holiday are either 1) laden with Sanskrit terms, assuming you already know the stories being taught, or 2) glitzy online catalogs for holiday sweets, jewelry, artifacts, incense and the like.

But there are exceptions.

Start with this bare-bones site, from the University of Kansas Medical School. Part of a list of holidays, it has a nice, simple description — no Flash, no pictures — of each of the five days of the Divali observance. It also links to a Hindu site that explains why Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune shown above, is honored on Divali.

Now you may be ready for the holiday site by Rangoli. VGreets has a concise explanaton of these seasonal designs sometimes called visual prayers. You can also find Rangoli galleries here, here and here.

Want more depth? India Travelogue provides a lengthy, 1,900-word essay on the festival, how it varies around India, and the three stories associated with the time.

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Written by Jim Davis

October 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm

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