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Getting to Know Musical Celebrations for Diwali

Singapore celebrates Deepavali yearly and it’s a festival celebrated by Hindus. You may have come across the word Diwali, which means the same thing. But which is the correct word to use for the festival? Deepavali is a Sanskrit word used by South Indians for the holiday while Diwali is used by North Indians. In this post, we learn about the musical celebrations for the annual Indian festival.

What is Diwali?

Diwali is India’s national festival and the most important festival for Hindus yearly. The name is derived from the word “avali”, which means row, and “deepa”, which means clay lamps, that Indians light outside their homes to symbolise the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness. It is a festival of light.

Even though Diwali is a festival for the Hindu community, it has also become a celebration for non-Hindus in India. The other two religions of India include Jainism and Sikhism. For the Jains, Diwali makes the nirvana, or spiritual awakening of their teacher, Lord Mahavira. Sikhs celebrate it to honour the day their Sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji was released from imprisonment by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Buddhists in India too, celebrate Diwali.

Different significance of Diwali in India

Although Diwali is a national festival for India, the different parts of India celebrate it by focusing on different stories of the Hindu religion. In Northern India, the celebrations surround the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps.

Southern India celebrates the day as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. While in Western India, the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world. Hinduism has various pantheons of Gods to represent the law of nature. Unlike Christmas, Diwali does not celebrate the birth of a particular God.

The origin of Diwali

The origin of the festival has nothing to do with Lord Krishna, Kind Rama or Lord Vishnu. Rather, it originated from celebrating the birth of the Hindu Goddess, Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of Wealth. This Goddess’ name varies from region to region in India. In Southern parts of the country, some may celebrate Lakshmi as the Goddess Kali, who is the Goddess of Victory.

Thus, Diwali can hold different meanings for Hindus in India. What unites Hindus in the celebration is the song and dance performed during Diwali.

Celebrating Diwali

To celebrate the festival, families light lamps in their homes and pour powdered colours into ornate patterns, known as rangoli in front of the entrance. Hindus go to the temple to pray with family and friends and there is a gathering for dinner afterwards.

During this time, Hindus pray to the Gods and Goddesses to ask them to remind those who celebrate Diwali to pick the right path whenever they are faced with difficulties.

Music Celebration in Diwali

The aarti is sung during the celebration of Diwali in temples. Aarti is sung to praise the Hindu Gods and to ask for strength from those who are singing and listening. They are often sung by both men and women and can vary in tempo. The aarti is also easy to repeat and the lead singer will lead verse by verse while others listen and repeat each stanza back in song.

These musical instruments are often used to celebrate Diwali.

  • Beslie : Bamboo Flute.

  • Tangmuri : Clarinet.

  • Duitara : Musical instrument like guitar with muga strings.

  • Ksing/Nakra : Drums used in different occasions.

  • Dymphong : Flat bamboo instrument.

  • Maryngod.

  • Marngthing.

  • Padiah : Small drum to be beaten with fine sticks.

We wish you a happy Diwali from Ritmo Music Studio, and hope you have fun in the celebrations!

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