Posts tagged ‘India’

July 29, 2015

A Mumbai Smiles article- Spread a Smile Campaign

Spread a Smile Campaign

In collaboration with Rotaract Club of Churchgate, 19th of July 2015

Mumbai smiles, Rotaract Club of Churchgate

Mumbai smiles, Rotaract Club of Churchgate



Event Name:
  Spread a Smile

Date and Time: 19th of July 2015, 4.00pm to 6.30pm

Venue: Marine Drive

In association with: Rotaract Club of Churchgate

Beneficiaries of Project: LSE Project Beneficiaries (8 participants)

Purpose of the event: To celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day

On a rainy cool evening of 19th July, 8 LSE beneficiaries of Mumbai Smiles and a bunch of volunteers from the Rotaract Club of Churchgate clubbed together to celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day through a simple yet very effective campaign of spreading happiness and joyfulness among the people of Mumbai.

The 18th of July is more than a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy. It’s a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better. Hence it was for this very purpose that Mumbai Smiles collaborated with the Rotaract club of Churchgate to spread awareness about the importance of promoting human rights and what better way than observing the life example of Nelson Mandela. He gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for human rights and social justice. Being a leader who acted with a steadfast belief in justice and human equality believed that it is in our hands to create a better world for all who live in it, and what better way to promote his thoughts by reminding the people that a smile has the power to change the world, enhance your business and build better and faster relationships.

This day was celebrated by distributing colourful pamphlets among random people present on that evening in Marine Drive. These pamphlets contained the message, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”. It was a message that encouraged people to put behind their worries and sorrows and take each day as an opportunity to be joyful and spread that happiness around. Along with the colourful sheets of paper, big sign boards that read “cheer-up, high-five, smile” etc were also displayed as the volunteers walked on the streets. The people watching these signboards would inevitably have a smile on their face and were curious to know more about the campaign. Many of them came forward to participate by holding these boards and promoting it themselves.

Mumbai smiles, Rotaract Club of Churchgate

Mumbai smiles, Rotaract Club of Churchgate

The Rotaract Club volunteers also distributed free coupons of eating joints and vouchers of salons for the people. This was another reason for the people to be happy and interested in the campaign. The volunteers made people sing songs, express a few words of joy, take photographs and share with everyone the thing that makes them smile.

The campaign brought an unexpected result. The outcome was tremendous as in a span of just 2 hours more than 200 people were made aware of the campaign and thus the true objective and aim of the campaign was achieved, which was ‘spreading smiles’.

On hearing the feedback from the people with whom we interacted that evening, the team realized that many appreciated the campaign and expressed their desire that more of such campaigns should be organized to alleviate the stress and anxiety that many face today in this city.

Thus, the overwhelming response to the colourful smiley faces and attractive sign boards truly helped in making people spread their contagious smiles around. No wonder they say, “Smile at the world and the world will smile back at you”

Mumbai smiles, Rotaract Club of Churchgate

Mumbai smiles, Rotaract Club of Churchgate

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http://www.mumbaismiles.org
mumbai@mumbaismiles.org
http://www.mumbaiaction.org

 

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March 5, 2015

Dream Run and the dreams attached…. about Mumbai Smiles

Mumbai smiles

Mumbai smiles

Mumbai Smiles, a name resounding in the city of Mumbai from the last 10 years, is committed to serve the disempowered in improving the quality of lives through its various projects. They have been involved with children, adolescents and women to help them lead a healthier, happier and more sustainable life. Their focus is to provide underprivileged children with a chance to quality education, disempowered women with a meaningful skill to participate in the household, adolescent girls and boys with the resources to engage in educational activities and pregnant and lactating mothers an opportunity to deliver safely. Their various projects like Balwadi, Future Smiles, SEED, HOPE, Life Skills Empowerment and mMitra reach out to fulfil these goals in the community.

2015, is a very special year for Mumbai Smiles. It was in April 2005, that Jaume Sanllorente the founder of the organization began to build the scaffoldings of this organization and on May 20th the organization was officially founded and registered. 10 years of passionate involvement began with a dream to make Mumbai a socially just place to live. After a journey of 10 years, Mumbai Smiles has reached out to more than 6000 beneficiaries in the year 2014 and look forward to achieve greater heights to build a better society.

As they complete their 10 years of service in the communities of Mumbai, a series of events have been planned to share their experiences and the social realities that they have discovered during our journey. These events will speak the stories of struggle, courage, determination and success of the several faces that are lost in the fast lives of Mumbai.

On the 8th of February, Mumbai Smiles raised the curtain to welcome its ambitious 10th Year! It was a mini Marathon Run called the Dream run for the people of the city!

Celebrating 10 years of transforming futures!

Celebrating 10 years of transforming futures!

 

The Dream Run was a 3km long run for all the ones who believe in running for a cause. In collaboration with a school that it supports, Mumbai Smiles organized this run to cater to the educational needs of the students in the community. Mumbai Smiles Executive Director, Mr. Narendra Kumar Dundu said “Seeing so many people gather to support a cause was indeed inspirational. Completing 10 years of Mumbai Smiles in 2015, it was symbolic to have started off the celebrations with a run, to mark the ambitious run we look forward to have from here to uplift the community.”

 

Some of the beneficiaries at the run

Some of the beneficiaries at the run

 

The event gave a platform to spread various social messages, where a small girl was seen holding a banner saying “Bati Bacho, Beti Padhao” i.e. save the girl child and educate them for a better future.

 

A girl carrying a social message about educating girls

A girl carrying a social message about educating girls

 

The event was a great success for Mumbai Smiles since they reached out to so many people in the community and among their partners. The Dream Run marked their entry into a new decade and they surely look forward to further scale up and enhance their impact in the society.

 http://www.mumbaismiles.org 

 

 

December 7, 2014

Cell phone tips to pregnant mothers! -A Mumbai Smiles article

Mumbai smiles

Mumbai smiles

Globally, more than one third of under-five deaths are attributable to under-nutrition. About 20 per cent of children under-age five in India are wasted (acute malnutrition), 43 per cent underweight and 48 per cent stunted (chronic malnutrition). In terms of numbers about 54 million children under five years in India are underweight which constitutes about 37% of the total underweight children in the world. In India, 25 million children under five years are wasted and 61 million are stunted, which constitutes 31 per cent and 28 per cent of wasted and stunted children respectively in the world.

It is clear that India is not likely to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), (eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000) on child malnutrition, which uses children underweight as the indicator.

Since the MDGs were adopted in the year 2000, knowledge on causes and consequences of under-nutrition has greatly improved. Research shows that the most critical cause of malnutrition emerges from nutritional deficiencies during the periods of mother’s pregnancy. Hence intervention at this stage is an opportunity to prevent under-nutrition among children and ensure that they reach appropriate growth levels.

Mumbai Smiles’ vision and mission to alleviate poverty is closely aligned with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It aims to achieve their goals through these MDG’s. With this vision Mumbai Smiles has collaborated with Armman foundation and international body MAMA (Mobile Alliance for maternal action) to provide voice-call health advice service for pregnant women and lactating mothers through a project called ‘mMitra’

So how does this work?

The women who register for delivery in this project are called on the phone twice a week and a health message is played to them. Mobiles being ubiquitous in India, it becomes very easy to deliver vital health information directly to the Indian women in the slums.

This project aims at improving the well-being of 7900 pregnant & lactating mothers. Mumbai Smiles will be covering the communities in the slum areas of Andheri East in Mumbai. They will be registering the beneficiaries and then begin the voice call services. So far, 1200 mothers have been registered. The project will attempt to raise awareness about government schemes and services on maternal and child health.

Mumbai Smiles hopes to contribute towards the larger goal of reducing child malnutrition and develop healthy practices among pregnant women.

 

Registering a beneficiary from the community M-mitra team member explaining a community woman about the project M-mitra beneficiaries M-Mitra beneficiaries with members of Armman foundation and MAMA. Alice Lin Fabiano, Director of Worldwide Corporate Contributions, Johnson  & Johnson (partner in M-Mitra project) interacting with the beneficiaries

 

September 24, 2014

Mumbai Smiles: Kaleidoscope 2014 Rally – Hey, Womania!

Hey Womania!

This season, Mumbai Smiles took a step ahead and collaborated with Mumbai’s most ‘iconic’ college festival: Kaleidoscope, organized by one of the leading colleges of the city- Sophia’s College for Women, the annual cultural fest that ran from the September 9 to 14, 2014.

 

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014 Rally -DLCS

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014 Rally -DLCS

 

The theme of Kaleidoscope 2014, Be Iconic, is guaranteed to not just showcase the crème de la crème of all fields that ever were – be it music, fine arts or sports, but also to leave one inspired to take actions worthy of joining ranks with the ones in the hallowed halls of fame. In its 29th year, the festival was larger than ever: with new events, more participants and the ever-enthusiastic workforce. One of the biggest and most awaited college festivals of Mumbai city, Kaleidoscope was a riot of colours and patterns, a synthesis of art and movement, and quite simply, a visual treat.

 

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014  -DLCS

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014 -DLCS

 

With just so much happening around, Mumbai Smiles just had to be a part of this eventful college fest. It’s collaboration all started by going out to the streets on the 27th of August, where a rally was conducted to spread awareness of the Project SEED of the organization and also gain visibility of the work carried out by the organization. More than 200 students of the college along with few beneficiaries of the SEED Project came forward to participate and join hands in this rally, a rally that highlighted the importance of guaranteeing the rights of the women in the society through slogans, chants, posters and eventually a flash mob that only added to the visibility of the Mumbai Smiles among by-standers.

 

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014  -DLCS

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014 -DLCS

 

To those of you who are wondering what exactly is Project SEED? It is one of the projects of Mumbai Smiles that seeks to empower women from slum communities with skills that will make them employable and enable them to join the workforce in order to earn a livelihood. Under this program, groups of women receive basic training in a variety of skills such as beautician skills, crafts, retail management marketing, tailoring, and many more. The programs ultimately help in making these women independent, gain confidence and become an agent of social change in the society. Among the other activities of this eventful collaboration was an initiative taken by young students to come forward and organize a handicraft activity for the women beneficiaries of the SEED Project. In this activity they learnt to make souvenirs that could be sold during the college fest, the proceeds of which would benefit the women who made it.

 

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014  -DLCS

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014 -DLCS

 

Moreover, at the festival itself, Mumbai Smiles had the opportunity to set up their own stall to spread awareness about their work and initiatives. Products made by SEED women such as candles, flowers, bags, bookmarks were among some items that were exhibited at the stall. Such a presence in this fest opened up a way to motivate the young students to come forward and engage with the NGO and lastly, create a market for the SEED products.

 

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014  -DLCS

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014 -DLCS

 

Mumbai Smiles’ association with Sophia College has truly been unforgettable in many ways. It opened up a way to motivate young students of the college to come forward and engage with the NGO, created a market for the products of SEED and lastly opened doors to looking into other ways of collaboration between the college and the organization. Now that is what you call a huge success!

 

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014  -DLCS

Mumbai Smiles Kaleidoscope 2014 -DLCS

 

There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women” – Kofi Annan

 

There are many more pictures of the event! Check them out on Facebook (click) 

July 10, 2014

Cooking his way through victory

A parent’s greatest wish is to see his/her child grow up to be a successful person. These little bases of happiness remain unchanged even if parents are unable to support their children. Unimaginable is the plight of those who are compelled to stay away from their families on account of fiscal difficulties. Such is the story of Vijay Singh, a beneficiary of our Future Smiles Project, an education project, who was abandoned very early in his life, yet, who fought against all odds and became successful.

The second son of Seturam Singh, Vijay spent only the first few years of his life at his parents’ house. Bowing down to the dismal socio-economic conditions of their household, Vijay’s parents had to send Vijay away to live at an orphanage as they couldn’t afford the expenses of raising two children. Consequently, Vijay lived at the “Karuna” orphanage for 7 years. The orphanage supported his education during these 7 years. From the very beginning, Vijay was passionate about food and cooking and he wanted to make a career in this field. He, therefore, decided to pursue a diploma in hotel management. But, the orphanage couldn’t support his education any further, as his course of choice cost Rs. 48000. Vijay was under a huge dilemma, as he did not want to bother his financially burdened parents, and at the same time, he needed a professional degree to have a successful career and make his parents proud.

His quest brought him to Mumbai Smiles and this was a turning point in his life. We saw Vijay’s immense determination and perseverance, and realized that his ardour would surely lead him to success in his chosen field. Mumbai Smiles, thus, decided to fund his education. This support not only enabled him to pursue his education, but also allowed him to return to his parents’ house, as they no longer had to bear any monetary burden.

 

Vijay among other students who recieved financial support for their education

Vijay among other students who recieved financial support for their education

 

 

Today, Vijay holds a diploma in Hotel Management. His parents are grateful to Mumbai Smiles, not only for ensuring that their son received a complete education, but also for reuniting their little family and helping to bring home their son, whom they had to unwillingly send away few years ago. We are immensely proud of Vijay for battling all odds and emerging successful.

Vijay has truly set an example for others to follow and we wish him all the luck for the future.

 

Vijay

Vijay

June 5, 2014

Happiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower!

And this time the SEED women sure shared happiness through their flowers!

St. Jordi is Barcelona’s and Catalonia’s version of Valentine’s Day and is a one day festival of romance, roses and books, all inspired by the legend of Saint George on 23rd April every year. On Saint Jordi’s Day the men in Barcelona and Catalonia give their partners a red rose, and in recent years a new Saint Jordi tradition is that the ladies give their men a book.  There are bookstalls and book markets all over Barcelona on Saint Jordi’s day. It is a very traditional festivity that combines culture and romanticism. Book and flower stalls are set up along the streets of Barcelona. This curious festival comes from a mixture of traditions from different periods. It coincides, on one hand, with the fact that Saint Jordi has been the patron saint of Catalonia since the 15th century; on the other hand, it comes from the famous legend of St George and the dragon and the old medieval tradition of visiting the Chapel of Saint Jordi in the Government Palace, where a rose fair used to take place. The legend of Saint George is that Saint Jordi slew a dragon to save a princess and then plucked a red rose for the princess from a rose bush, which had sprouted on the exact spot, where the dragon’s red blood had spilled.

SEED women making the roses in India

SEED women making the roses in India

At Mumbai Smiles, a huge order of 1845 roses (400 white and 1445 red) was received from Barcelona for Saint Jordi’s day. The order was received in mid-January and the roses were to be dispatched by 26th-27th of March. The task was to be completed by members of the SEED team.  SEED, a skills development program of Mumbai Smiles, aims to equip women and girls from low-income backgrounds with tangible, marketable skills that can help them earn a proper livelihood. For this purpose, women from nearby areas of Andheri (Mumbai) were enrolled and trained. In all, 14 beneficiaries were trained, of which 5 were our existing SEED beneficiaries and the rest 9 were newly enrolled into the process. It was heartening to see the beneficiaries work day and night to complete the order. The sale proceeds of the roses shall be distributed among the beneficiaries.

 

Jaume's books for sale

Jaume’s books for sale

 

Such training to the SEED beneficiaries ensures their socio economic sustainability and independence. In fact, Pravina Mohite, one of the beneficiaries, gave the following feedback after the training:

“I have undertaken the handicraft training in Mumbai Smiles. Now I get orders for craft flowers. Thanks to the SEED team of Mumbai Smiles for this training!!”

While the flowers were ready to be dispatched to Spain from the Mumbai Office, a whole range of activities was organized by their team members in Spain to sell these roses.

Sonrisas de Bombay volunteers in Spain

Sonrisas de Bombay volunteers in Spain

Some of them were:

  • Preparing stands and stalls at Barcelona and Tarragona where the Spain team members and volunteers sold these solidarity roses made by the beneficiaries of the SEED Project.
  • Jaume Sanllorente (Founder of Mumbai Smiles, and also a writer) was personally present at the stand in Barcelona to sign his latest book-The power of smiles for his fans. His books talk about his experience of starting this organization as also its various Projects.
  • Their new campaign ‘They smile, you can make it happen’ was also launched on the same day of Sant Jordi, the 23rd of April.

 

 Mumbai Smiles founder, Jaume with his fans on Sant Jordi


Mumbai Smiles founder, Jaume with his fans on Sant Jordi

 

The day came to an end with a huge success where about 1300 of those handmade roses were sold!

Mumbai Smiles continue to embark their journey towards creating a model of a just society, which is free of poverty and where people live with equal rights and opportunities.

 

The roses

The roses

Text and photos belong to Mumbai Smiles. 

To know more about Mumbai Smiles: www.mumbaismiles.org

The Spanish website: www.sonrisasdebombay.org

You are always welcome to visit these projects. All you have to do is write on: mumbai@mumbaismiles.org 

May 8, 2014

Mumbai Smiles – Hope

Ankita and Vandana; our Champions

Affordability, accessibility and utilization of the health facilities are directly proportional to the socio-economic status of the family. In India, there is a need to help and psycho-socially support the children suffering from Cancer so that their lives can be saved. It is essential to help them maintain a balance in life and manage the disease condition in holistic manner. Most of the cancers in children are curable. However, many children die due to lack of comprehensive medical care. The social and economic realities prevent a sizeable population from seeking timely treatment and following up on the treatment.

In Mumbai Smiles, the HOPE project and its interventions are designed to address the financial, psycho-social, emotional and diagnostic need of 25 underprivileged children suffering from Cancer, aged 0 to 18 years coming from all over India, admitted at Holy Spirit Hospital, Andheri (East), Mumbai.

This project envisages giving importance to comprehensive and holistic care. It emphasizes on the aspect that is excluded from the medical care in the typical Indian hospital setting.

Among the various activities under this Project, ‘Champion of the month’ is one such activity that recognizes and honours these children who have successfully undergone a surgery or completed the chemotherapy cycle.

This month marked the celebration of consistent fortitude of our beneficiaries, Ankita and Vandana who completed their course of therapy and are determined to stand strong against the adversities of the disease. Ankita, 18 years old, finished her surgery for Brain Tumor and Vandana, 15 years old suffering from Retinoblastoma completed her 8 Chemotherapy cycles and 40 Radiations. Both the champions were given gifts to motivate them to continue their therapy. The hospital staff, nurses, Mumbai Smiles volunteers and other beneficiaries extended their support to both of them. Ankita’s words while she was leaving “I could have never been able to do this without all of you” were filled with immense gratitude and affection towards everybody present there. Vandana was touched by the involvement shown by the other beneficiaries into her treatment and this brought a bright smile on her face.
This effort ensures that the beneficiaries don’t fight the disease alone. A society that supports can make a huge difference just by being there for them. The event was concluded by distributing medical kits to all the beneficiaries.

 Written by Mumbai Smiles volunteer Chiranshu Kumar. Thank you!

 

Mumbai Smiles - Hope

Mumbai Smiles – Hope

Mumbai Smiles - Hope

Mumbai Smiles – Hope

Mumbai Smiles - Hope

Mumbai Smiles – Hope

 

For more info:

www.mumbaismiles.org
mumbai@mumbaismiles.org
www.mumbaiaction.org

April 10, 2014

Mumbai Smiles – A Sporty day for the children of Balwadis.

A Sporty day for the children of our Balwadis.

Under the various Education Projects undertaken by Mumbai Smiles, one of the projects is known as the ‘Balwadis’, which are pre-school educational centres. It’s a project that cultivates healthy habits though education among children from 1 to 6 years of age. It’s through this project that Mumbai Smiles reaches out to approximately 700 children living in the slums of Mumbai and ensures quality education along with promoting the development of sound health and nutrition among them.

Among its various activities planned by Mumbai Smiles for these children throughout the year, one was a Sport competition for these little ones.

As we all know, participating in sports can have a healthy developmental impact on young children. These activities can promote cooperative play, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Sports also help children in getting along with their peers, family members, teachers, and coaches. As also through positive feedback, group play builds self-esteem, helps children accomplish significant achievements.

With this in mind, sports competitions were organized at all our 23 Balwadi centres a few weeks back. The primary objective behind organizing these competitions was to enable the students to have fun outside the class environment. Students demonstrated active participation in all the sports such as Basketball, Racing, Book balancing, Lemon and spoon etc. The activities were held in open areas surrounding the Balwadi centres. As always, parents and the people of the community were present to encourage these children.

The day came to end with attractive prizes being distributed among all these wonderful children as an appreciation and motivation for their participation.

 

 

Mumbai Smiles - sports day Balawis

Mumbai Smiles – sports day Balawis

 

Mumbai Smiles - sports day Balawis

Mumbai Smiles – sports day Balawis

Mumbai Smiles - sports day Balawis

Mumbai Smiles – sports day Balawis

 

With thanks to Natasha Rolston of Mumbai Smiles for providing text and pictures. 

More info about the Balwadis HERE

How can you contribute and donate a smile? Check Mumbai Smiles’s website HERE

 

March 11, 2014

An introduction to Mumbai Smiles

A very dear friend of mine, Laia, recently visited India and got in touch with the organisation Mumbai Smiles. She told me she was impressed by their work and would like to help them out. From Europe the easiest way to help them is to get them exposure. I offered my blog for that, so from now one you can expect articles on Mumbai Smiles and their work regularly. 

Who they are:

Mumbai Smiles is a non profit organisation founded by a Spanish journalist, Jaume Sanllorente in the year 2005. He was on vacation to Mumbai which happened to be a life changing experience for him. He started what he calls a “peaceful struggle against poverty”, a struggle that has today been taken up by a growing team of dedicated professionals. It engages with thousands of people with multiple projects focused on Education, Health and Livelihood.

Mumbai Smiles operates through their projects in and around the slums of Andheri East area, Mumbai. Mumbai Smiles believes in delivering quality services to its beneficiaries and hence has strategically chosen to work in a specified area for holistic development of the community.

Their target population is the children, women and youths in the slum communities of the operational area. Their projects on education, health and livelihood are interlinked with each other and aligned with the MDG goals to contribute largely in the overall socio- economic development of the area.

What they do:

This integrated program aims to end poverty and the violation of the most fundamental human rights in the poorest communities in Bombay.

Their education program includes:

  • Balwadi project focused on Cultivating a Healthy Lifestyle through Education to children in below 6 years of age.
  • Future Smiles project focused on adolescent youths above 14 years of age providing financial support to underprivileged youths to continue their education and build a bright future.
  • Girl Child Education project focused on adolescent girls by providing them scholarship support to continue their education thus alleviating the gender disparities existing in society and giving equal opportunity to girls to continue their education.

 Their health program includes:

  • HOPE project which gives psychosocial and financial support to children with cancer.
  • Eye check up and health camps.

 Their Livelihood project includes:

SEED Project: This project on vocational training rolled out in the year 2012. It was initiated with the vision to connect with ongoing education programs and provide a link to those left out youths who were not covered under the Future Smiles project. Thus it aims to provide marketable tangible skills to underprivileged youth in the age group of 18 – 29 years and women above the age group of 29 years providing them meaningful employment to lead a dignified life. The larger objective of the project is to promote gender equality by empowering women financially. Mumbai Smiles believes that a woman is a foundation to a healthy society and plays a central role to development as a whole.

 Those interested in visiting Mumbai Smiles Projects can do so by simply writing them  on: mumbai@mumbaismiles.org, and they will organise a one day visit for you to all their projects.

You can also visit their Blog: www.mumbaismiles.org to learn more about them.

Thank you!

October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali!

Deepavali or Diwali, popularly known as the “festival of lights,” is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-November for different reasons. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC.

Deepavali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.

 The name “Diwali” is a contraction of “Deepavali” (Sanskrit: दीपावली Dīpāvalī), which translates into “row of lamps”.[5] Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas or dīpas) in Sanskrit: दीप) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.

 The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year. The second day of the festival, Naraka Chaturdasi, marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the third day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the Bali, and banished him to Patala. It is on the fourth day of Deepawali, Kartika Shudda Padyami, that Bali went to patala and took the reins of his new kingdom in there. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.

 While the story behind Deepavali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region (festive fireworks, worship, lights, sharing of sweets), the essence is the same – to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying Reality of all things (Brahman). It’s a celebration of the victory of good over evil; the uplifting of spiritual darkness

2011 date: 26 October
2012 date:13 November

Thank you, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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May Diwali
bring light to your spirit,
warmth to your home,
joy to your heart!