November is filled with diversity calendar recognition, and this year the Council chose to spotlight Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and International Men’s Day (IMD)
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.” Diwali is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar months of Ashvin between around mid-September and mid-November. The celebrations generally last five days.
Diwali, or Dipawali, is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.
On DAY ONE: People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
DAY TWO: People decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
DAY THREE: On the main day of the festival, families gather for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and fireworks.
DAY FOUR: This is the first day of the new year when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
DAY FIVE: Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.
International Men’s Day (IMD) is a global awareness day highlighting many issues that men face including, abuse, homelessness, suicide and violence. The day is celebrated annually on November 19. It is also an occasion to celebrate boys’ and men’s lives, achievements and contributions to their society, community and family.
International Men’s Day is also a great opportunity to shine light on mental health. Sadly, middle-aged men have the highest suicide rate in the world, and many others struggle with depression and other mental health issues. By shining light on these issues, more individuals can get the help they need as the hardest part is knowing how to ask for help.
Did you know, the longest-running celebration of International Men’s Day is Malta, where events have occurred since February 1994.
IDEAs Council topics for next month:
December – International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the celebration of Las Posadas