Diwali 2017: When is it, what is it, who will be celebrating?

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 4:03 PM

Indian women participate in a Rangoli competition (hindu ritual design) in Hyderabad, on January 11, 2012. Rangoli is a traditional decorative folk art from India. These are decorative designs made on floors of living rooms and courtyards  are meant as sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities  during Sankranthi festival is also known as the harvest festival and is celebrated on 14th January through the country and marks the transition from winter to spring. AFP PHOTO / Noah SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)
NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images
Indian women participate in a Rangoli competition (hindu ritual design) in Hyderabad, on January 11, 2012. Rangoli is a traditional decorative folk art from India. These are decorative designs made on floors of living rooms and courtyards are meant as sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities during Sankranthi festival is also known as the harvest festival and is celebrated on 14th January through the country and marks the transition from winter to spring. AFP PHOTO / Noah SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)(NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Beginning next week, billions around the world will be celebrating the Hindu festival of light – Diwali.

The ancient ceremony that honors the legend of Hindu gods and goddesses is India’s most grand celebration, bringing together lights, sweet treats, colorful artwork and gifts.

What are the origins of the ceremony and how do people celebrate? Here’s a quick look at Diwali.

What is Diwali

Diwali, which means “series of lights,” is a five-day festival that coincides with the Hindu New Year. Diwali falls on the 15th day of Kartika, the holiest month in the Hindu calendar.

Who celebrates Diwali?

Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate the holiday. In Jainism, it marks the spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira. For Sikhs, it marks the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment.

What day is Diwali?

The date of the festival changes each year. This year, the main day of celebration falls on Thursday.

What is being celebrated?

Most people are celebrating the legend of the return of the Hindu god Rama and his wife, Sita, to their northern India kingdom of Ayodhya. The legend says Rama and Sita were exiled for 14 years after the defeat of the demon king Rayanna. Some honor Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, during Diwali.

How do people celebrate Diwali?

Homes and businesses celebrate the festival of light by using diyas, which are small clay lamps, and decorating with strings of lights. There are large fireworks celebrations to honor the message of the celebration of light overcoming the dark. 

Rangoli patterns – colorful artwork made of rice or powder – are created at the entrance to homes. New clothes are worn during the festival, and the house is cleaned to welcome Lakshmi before Diwali begins.

During the festival, gifts are exchanged, sweet and savory foods are eaten and those celebrating are encouraged to help others in need.

What happens during the five days?

Each day has a special meaning. Here is how they are celebrated:

The first day is known as Dhanteras, with Dhan meaning “wealth” and teras meaning the 13th day of the lunar fortnight on the Hindu calendar. On this day prosperity is celebrated. 

The second day is known as Naraka Chaturdasi, or Chhoti Diwali, meaning “small Diwali.” On this day, the goddess Kali and Lord Krishna were believed to destroy the demon Narakasura and free more than 15,000 captive princesses.  

The third day (Thursday) of the celebrations is known as Amavasya. It is the new moon day. It is celebrated by lighting diyas and candles and shooting off fireworks. It is the most important day of Diwali.

The fourth day is celebrated in northern India as the day Lord Krishna defeated Indra the god of thunder and rain. In other places, it’s celebrated as New Years. 

The fifth day is known as Bhai Duj. It celebrates sisters.

 Sources: Diwali 2017; National Geographic Kids; festivals.awesomeji.com; wikipedia

Police: Man performed satanic ritual on passed-out woman

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:50 AM

Kyle Parker
Westmoreland County Prison
Kyle Parker(Westmoreland County Prison)

A Pennsylvania man is behind bars after police said that he performed what he called a satanic ritual on a friend.

Kyle Parker is accused of cutting the victim on her palm during an argument, TribLive reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The woman passed out, but when she woke up, she said found razor blade cuts on her calf.

The next day the victim said that Parker told her, “I sold your soul to the devil,” Trib Live reported.

Parker was charged with simple assault and harassment and was taken to Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bond, Trib Live reported.

Georgia mom's post about 5-year-old paying rent sparks viral Facebook conversation

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:53 PM

Mother Says She Charges 5-Year-Old For Rent

At the age of 5, most kids are still learning the basics of counting, but one Georgia mom has tasked her 5-year-old with not only counting but learning the art of financial planning.

>> Read more trending news

Essence Evans has received international attention for her recent Facebook post, about requiring her 5-year-old daughter to pay toward the family’s rent, water, electricity, cable and food. Evans, who says she lives in Georgia, said in a Facebook post Jan. 14, that she gives her daughter a $7 allowance each week, so paying rent is a way to teach her some “real world” concepts.

“I explained to her that in the real world most people spend most of their paycheck on bills with little to spend on themselves,” Evans wrote. “So, I make her give me $5 dollars back. $1 for rent $1 for water $1 for electricity $1 for cable and $1 for food.”

Her daughter gets to keep $2 for herself or for saving.

I MAKE MY 5 YEAR OLD PAY RENT. Every week she gets $7 dollars in allowance. But I explained to her that in the real...

Posted by Essence Evans on Sunday, January 14, 2018

The post has since been shared more than 314,000 times, and there are more than 44,000 comments, mainly praising Evans’ efforts to teach her daughter responsibility. 

“I think this is absolutely amazing! It is a great way to teach her how the real world works and to get her a little savings account of her own so she has a good start when she moves out or goes to college or whatever she chooses to do,” Jennifer Barfield wrote in response to the post.

Cathy White Stark agreed, writing that Evans is “a fantastic parent! Kids are clueless how things work and yes,they have this sense of entitlement. ... Good job.”

Some supporters even told personal stories of how similar tactics served them well.

“My father did that with me. I never complained. But when he died. He left me close to $28,000.00 I was shocked,” wrote Jim Koloski.

While the chorus of praise resonates throughout most of social media, there have been some who call her methods a bit much for a 5-year-old.

Some applauded the general idea but critiqued Evans for charging her child for necessities, even if just a small fee.

Evans’ Facebook post and the conversation around it have been featured on “Loose Women,” a television program in the United Kingdom, and several online news sites.

Evans did not immediately return The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s request for comment.

Dog mauls 4-year-old girl, police say

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 9:14 PM

4-Year-Old Recovering in Hospital After Being Mauled by Dog

4-year-old girl is recovering at a local hospital after she was mauled by a family friend’s dog, police said. 

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The attack happened Thursday afternoon at the Meadows Mobile Home Park in Melbourne, police said.

Police said the girl's mother dropped the girl off to be watched by a family friend and another woman. The family friend left and the child was being watched by the other woman when the mixed-breed dog attacked the girl, police said.

The woman was able to grab the girl and run out of the house, where she screamed for help, police said. The dog kept trying to get through the door when a neighbor grabbed the child and called 911, police said. 

"I just picked her up and ran like hell with her. I told my wife, 'Call 911, we got an emergency.' That's before I even saw her wounds," neighbor Richard Hansen said. "I saw her trying to keep the door shut, so I ran over there and she said the dog attacked her."

It’s unclear why the dog attacked the child, police said.

The child had injuries to her neck, back and leg, but she will recover, police said. The woman also has not-life-threatening injuries. 

"The little girl kept saying, 'Bad dog, bad dog,'" Hansen said.

Animal services has captured the dog, as well as three other dogs, but it’s unclear what will happen to the animals.

Police said they don't anticipate filing any criminal charges against the dog owners and said they were cooperative.

Why isn't the Google's art selfie feature available in two states?

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:53 PM

(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images for MBFW)
Joern Pollex/Getty Images for MBFW
(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images for MBFW)(Joern Pollex/Getty Images for MBFW)

Google’s new Arts & Culture App has been insanely popular over the last week -- and no, it’s not because people are wanting to brush up on their art history skills (though it’s good for that, too). It’s because there’s a hilarious feature where you can upload a photo of yourself and the app will match your face with a work of art that resembles you. 

>> Read more trending news

Except in Texas and Illinois, that is.

According to the Chicago Tribune, it’s because of the states’ biometric privacy laws, which limits companies who obtain “biometric identifiers” (like a “retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint or record of hand or face geometry,” according to the law) for commercial purposes. Anyone violating the Texas law passed in 2009 could be subject to a penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation. 

Guys, this app is DEAD ON.

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