Kaelen Kotecha

On Diwali, I light a great amount of lamps (divas). Not only do they light up the world with hope and prosperity, the light of the lamp shines my heart and makes me release my brilliance, knowledge and truth from within me. The diva points upwards, which represents looking forward to life and having no regrets. The light burns away the darkness from the world and shines goodness into the world, like what occurs on ‘kali chaudas.’ The day of Diwali is a time to reflect on the past year’s events and to start a fresh new year the following day on ‘bestu varas.’ I do this by setting new goals and aspirations for myself. I also conduct a Lakshmi puja on ‘dhanteras,’ to help bring in wealth into my home. Diwali gives me a feeling of happiness and purity and a wanting to help others. It inspires me to give to charity (seva) and be friendly to all those I meet. Finally, the people of Ayodhya celebrated the day of Diwali, when Ram returned from the forest. Therefore, I follow the tradition and celebrate by meeting up with friends and family, having a feast, eating mithai (sweets) and lighting up fireworks.