Indians around the world observe Diwali now, a five-day celebration of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. Schools, businesses and government offices are closed as families celebrate this festival of lights.
This picture has been bouncing around online all day and there's some question regarding its legitimacy. We contacted NASA to get the real scoop but have not received verification. Real or an artistic representation, it's certainly a beautiful image of India.
The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras ("dhan" means wealth) when many people in north India decorate their homes with lights and precious metals. The story behind the tradition goes like this: King Hima's 16 year old son was destined to die from a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. When the day arrived, his new wife blocked the entrance of the young man's bedroom with a pile of gold and silver coins. She lit lanterns and sang songs to save her young husband's life from a deadly serpent.
When the slithery lord of death found he could not enter, he sat on the coins, entranced by the lights and the music. In the morning, he slipped away quietly. From then on, Indians have held tight to the belief that displaying lights and precious metals on the first day of Diwali is essential to a family's good fortune. For more of the story and others, visit diwalifestival.org.
Gold is intertwined with culture, faith and rituals throughout the year in India. Akshaya Tritiya and the pre-monsoon wedding period have spurred periods of gold purchases earlier this year. The holy Hindu month of Shraavan, which generally falls around the month of August, also has strong ties to gold. Read more about this celebration: Indians Celebrate Holiday with Offerings of Gold.
What's significant to gold investors is that India makes up a considerable part of the world's population that has a strong cultural bond with gold. This Love Trade identifies a key differentiator between the East and the West. Whereas in the US we separate gold jewelry from investments in gold, in the eastern hemisphere in countries such as India and China, gold is one and the same. No matter the form-jewelry, coins, bars or statues-gold is an investment.
With half of the world's population in this part of the world, along with rising incomes, this concept is what we believe will drive the long-term shift in gold demand.
Frank Holmes is CEO and chief investment officer of US Global Investors. This first appeared in his Frank Talk blog.
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