Diwali is among few such festivals in India that are celebrated and rejoiced by all the cultures, religions, states, and classes. While the main belief behind Diwali celebration is to gain victory over the darkness and the evil, there are other stories and beliefs associated with this festivity.
What is Diwali?
Also called as Deepawali, Deeponki Mala, Festival of Lights, or Dipavali, it is a five-day festival beginning from Dhanteras and ending at Bhai Dooj. The third day of the celebration is celebrated as Diwali, where people light their houses with candles, diyas, burn crackers, and worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi Ji. It is one of the grand festivals in Indian culture, where the excitement and joy are lasting among the masses.
Why is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is celebrated by all the communities in India, prominently by Hindu, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. While the major reason of celebrating Diwali is to symbolize the victory of knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness, hope over despair and good over evil, still, every religion has its own ancient story and reasons to celebrate the festival.
According to Hinduism, Diwali is celebrated in the honor of Lord Rama returning back to his home along with his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshmana after defeating the evil King Ravana. The trios were kings and queen, but still, have to spend 14 years of their lives in a jungle. The celebration is done to show joy and honor for their returning back home.
According to Jainism, Mahavira, the last Tirthankara of the historic era gained Nirvana during this day. Hence, it is celebrated as Diwali every year.
Diwali in Sikhism also stands for ‘BandiChor Divas,’ which is the day when Guru HarGobind feed himself from the rule and slavery of the Hindu and Mughal rulers from the Gwalior Fort. The Guru arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and since then the festival is celebrated on a large scale.
In Buddhism, the festival is celebrated to rejoice and celebrate the freedom granted by Mahayana Buddhism to worship any deity on this day.
Why is Diwali called the Festival of Lights?
The word Diwali means ‘rows of lighted lamps’ or ‘path of lighted lamps.’ Diwali is also called as the Festival of Lights because it is the festivity marking the victory of light over darkness and good over bad.
People celebrate this festival by lighting fireworks, candles, diyas, and other modern lightings in their homes, workplaces, shops, public places, and almost every possible region.Since there is light and joy everywhere so the festival is also called as the festival of lights.
When is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is a five-day celebration that begins from Dhanteras and ends at BhaiDooj. The date or Tithi of celebration is determined according to the Hindu lunar calendar. It is based on the rotation of Moon around the Earth. The main festival night or the third day-night is celebrated at the darkest, new moonlight, also known as Amavasya of the Hindu Lunisolar in the month of Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar. Usually, this it falls between mid-October and mid-November.
How do We Celebrate Diwali?
The Diwali celebration takes place over five days. Two days before the main Amavasya day and two days after the Amavasya or Diwali day. Before the beginning of the festival, people take time to clean their houses, warehouses, shops, stores, and every possible corner of their premises. Also, sweets, savories, are prepared at home.
Dhanteras –First Day Celebration
This festival falls on the 13th day of the lunar fortnight from the Hindu calendar. It is termed as ‘Dhan’ and ‘Teras’, which means wealth and teras is the 13th day of the calendar respectively. During this day, people wear new clothes and purchase gold and new kitchen utensils.
Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi – Second Day Celebration
This is celebrated as the Choti Diwali and is known as Naraka Chaturdasi. The chaturdasi is termed as it is celebrated on the 14th day of a Lunar fortnight of the Hindu calendar. It is believed that during this day Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali, destroyed demon Narakasura, which offered freedom to 16,000 princesses. During this day, people decorate their homes and doorways and even light small diyas and burst crackers.
Diwali – The Third Day
During this day people take bath early morning and deck into new apparels. It is the darkest and new moon day. In the morning people decorate their houses, make rangoli, and prepare sweets. In the evening there is puja performed for Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganpati. After that, they light candles and burst crackers. The day is concluded with festive meals and card playing party.
Govardhan Puja or Padva – Fourth Day
In Hinduism, the fourth day is celebrated to rejoice the victory of Lord Krishna over the god of thunder, Indra. In north Indian states, this day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja and people make a small mound of cow dung, and worship it. In Maharashtra, Bali puja is performed to gain blessings of King Bali, while in Gujarat it is celebrated to welcome the winters. In the western states of India, the fourth day marks the New Year according to their calendar and is celebrated as Bestu Varas.
Bhai Dooj – Fifth Day
This day is celebrated by sisters and brothers and intends to make their bond stronger and lasting. Sisters do a tika to their brothers and in return are offered by precious gifts from their brothers. Diwali is truly an amazing festival filled with lighting, joy, and pleasure. So, have a great time celebrating Diwali and spending quality time with your family and friends.
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