In Valmiki’s epic, Ramayana, Prince Rama of Ayodhya, is exiled by his father, King Dashratha, to the forest for 14 years. Rama is accompanied by his wife, Sita, and his brother, Laxmana. During this time, they encounter several obstacles and adventures, including Sita’s abduction by ten-headed Ravana. Rama enlists the help of an army of monkeys to rescue Sita and triumphs over Ravana. At the end of the exile, as Rama (now King) returns to Ayodhya, the people lit little clay lamps (diya, pronounced dee-ya), to celebrate and welcome Rama, Sita and Laxmana back to the city. This celebration is annually commemorated as the festival of Diwali.
The hand-made clay diyas we carry are from Porbandar, which is also the birthplace of Gandhi. They are similar to the diyas featured on the Diwali stamp the US Postal System released in 2016.
Traditionally, they are filled with oil or ghee. A cotton wick is placed in the ghee and lit at the end. Similar to an olive-oil lamp.
The festival of Diwali celebrates new beginnings, with wishes of light, abundance and prosperity. The little clay diyas are traditionally a symbol of Diwali.