Diwali or Deepawali is the world-renowned festival of lights. This Hindu festival is celebrated over a period of five days. This day is believed to be the ultimate victory of good over evil. It’s the day that drives away all the darkness and brings peace, happiness and prosperity to the life. This festival is generously celebrated all over India and is known to bring people together. It marks the return of Lord Rama back to the kingdom of Ayodhya. This celebration also falls during the Hindu new year and is one of the most important festivals celebrated in India every year.
How is Diwali Celebrated?
There are a variety of ceremonies that take place during the five-day-long Diwali celebration. As per some beliefs, Diwali is celebrated twenty days after the Dussehra celebration. People, in general, wear the finest clothes, worship the Goddess Lakshmi and illuminate their houses with beautiful rangolis and diyas. This festival has a major focus on shopping for new items for the home such as gadgets, jewellery, appliances, vehicles, etc. There are various sweets are made and purchased for family get together for feasts and celebrations.
In India, Diwali is always very special to people from all walks of life. Most people arrange parties and have a gala time with friends and family. During this festive time, offices arrange big parties for their employees to celebrate in style. Most apparently the climatic condition during this festive season is cool along with a vibrant atmosphere to enhance the festive spirit of joy and warmth.
Legends Associated with Diwali
There is various religious belief associated with the celebration of the Diwali festival. It holds great importance in the Hindu tradition. Some of the popular beliefs associated with it are given in the following:
Return of Rama to Ayodhya
As per ancient Hindu Scriptures, it is believed that one of the primary reasons behind celebrating this festival is the return of Lord Rama with his wife Sita and Brother Laxman after a prolonged exile of 14 years after defeating the Lanka King Ravana.
Austerities of Shakti
As per the Skanda Purana, the goddess Shakti observed 21 days of austerity starting from Ashtami of Shukla Paksha to be the left half body of Lord Shiva. This Kedhara Vrata (Vrata means austerity) completion is considered Deepavali. On this day Lord Shiva accepted Shakti into the left half of the form and appeared as Ardhanarishvara.
Birth of Goddess Lakshmi
As per ancient scriptures, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi manifested herself on the day when the demons and deities were churning the ocean together to find out the Pot of Immortality. As a result, the Diwali festival is celebrated to honour the birth of the Goddess of wealth. Since then this festival is associated with the worshipping of Goddess Lakshmi.
Laxmi Puja Significance
The worship of the Goddess of wealth and prosperity is the main event on Diwali. When it comes to Diwali Pujan mainly Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi in her three forms are worshipped. It is an age-old belief that “Lakshmi Panchayatan” enters the universe. This Panchayatan (Group of five) includes Sri Vishnu, Sri Indra, Sri Kuber, Sri Gajendra and Sri Lakshmi. The purpose of these elements are given below:
- Gajendra: Carries the wealth
- Vishnu: Happiness & Satisfaction
- Indra: Opulence
- Kubera: Wealth
- Lakshmi: Divine source of energy that provides the energy to all the above activities.
5 Days Diwali Celebration Significance
The long 5-days celebration of the Diwali festival has got special significance each day.
- Dhanteras is the name of the festival’s opening day. A lucky day to shop for metallic items including jewellery, appliances, gold and silver coins, kitchenware, and other such items.
- Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi is the name for the second day before Diwali. On this day, diyas and rangolis adorn every home.
- The third day the main event Diwali. In the North, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on Amavasya night (new moon day).
- The Govardhan puja is held on the fourth day of the festival. This celebration is held in honour of Lord Krishna, who raised the Govardhan mountain to shield the populace from Lord Indra’s anger. On this day, little figures made of cow dung and clay are created to represent the occasion.
- Bhai Dooj is the last day of this festival on which brothers and sisters get together to do the tikka ceremony with sisters praying for the long life of their brothers.
When is Diwali Celebrated?
The Diwali date is decided by the Hindu lunar calendar and is usually celebrated between the middle of the month of October or November.
Diwali Facts You Might Not Have Known
1) This is the only time when soldiers posted on the Indo-Pak border forget their differences and exchange sweets with their counterparts every year.
2) It is a national holiday for the people of India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Suriname, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Fiji.
3) In addition to celebrating this day every year, the Sikhs also commemorate the release of Guru Hargobind Sahibji and the 52 Indian kings and princesses who were captured by Shah Jahan.
4) Business houses begin a new accounting year, and farmers finish harvesting. India also enters its winter season during this time.
5) Most people think Diwali is a Hindu festival, but Jains, Sikhs, and other people also celebrate it joyfully.
6) Diwali’s exact date changes yearly depending on the moon’s position and the Hindu calendar.
7) It is celebrated as Diwali in north India and Deepawali in South India which is usually one day ahead of Diwali since the dates are different.
8) In Jainism, it is believed that Lord Mahavira became Nirvana on this day.
Deepawali in South India
People wake up early on Deepawali day to have an oil bath and put on their new clothes and offer prayers to the Gods. Then they distribute sweets and burst crackers which actually night to spread the light, happiness, and cheer.
It’s a joyful time for the entire family as everybody gathers together to celebrate and have a great time. It is also the time to clean and decorate the homes with colourful Kolam (rangoli design patterns) made on the floor with coloured powder at the entrance of the home.
On this auspicious day, people bathe before sunrise with water mixed with oil infused with betel leaves, fragrant pepper and many other ingredients. After the customary oil bath ritual, everyone must take a spoonful of herbal concoction known by the name Deepavali Legiyam before getting started with the feast and festivities. It is prepared using coriander powder, pepper powder, cumin powder, ginger powder, cardamom powder, carom seeds, yastimadhu, jaggery and ghee. It is known to be effective in curing all digestive problems.
The festival of Diwali in this state celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna and Satyabhama over the demon Narakasura. The festivities of this day begin with taking the blessing from the clay idol of Satyabhama.
Diwali in West Bengal
In the West Bengal region on the new moon day (Amavasya) goddess Kali is worshipped.
Kali is the more aggressive and destructive incarnation of the Goddess Durga. She destroys all evil and promises a renewal of life and justice on earth.
In West Bengal, it is not the Lakshmi puja but Kali Puja which makes the festival unique and special. Kali is generally a goddess to be feared rather than venerated.
But, Diwali is also celebrated with great enthusiasm and it is a time for great joy and feasting. The houses are well decorated and lit with diyas.
Two or even four plantain leaves decorate the entry to the house or the property, with a row of diyas illuminating the doorstep. The entire family gathers around for Lakshmi puja in the evening.
You have come to the end of this blog, now you have quite well informed regarding the celebration and significance of the Diwali festival. The preserved tradition of this festival helps you be safe from getting lost in the darkness of ignorance.
Diwali is all about positivity, prosperity, knowledge, light and well-being for everyone. The light of diyas helps remind you that there is a source of light within us too. There are various Diwali festive sale offers going on that help in celebrating it throughout India with great pomp and show.
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Hopefully, the above information has provided some very interesting insight into Diwali and you have learned something new about this most popular Indian holiday.
Happy Diwali to All!