Diwali is one of the most significant festivals in India It is celebrated across the length and breadth of the nation with much fanfare and enthusiasm. It is also known as the Festival of Lights.
The festival derives its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that the devotees light in their houses in order to symbolize the inner light that drives away spiritual darkness.
The date of the festival is calculated according to the position of the moon and the Hindu lunar calendar, and is usually in October or November
Diwali is a 5-day celebration, wherein friends and families get together, light Diyas in their houses. People feast on sweet delicacies, exchange gifts, and burn crackers. It is a harbinger of new beginnings as it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi pays a visit to the houses of devotees in the middle of the dark night, and blesses them with wealth and happiness.
5 days celebration
‘Dhan’ means wealth and this day is dedicated to celebrating prosperity. On this day, images of goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, are worshipped. Fortune does not just mean wealth, it refers to general well-being and prosperity as well as money and material valuables. Also people clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
Naraka Chaturdasi (Chhoti Diwali)
The second day of Diwali known as Choti Diwali or Kali Chaudas. This day marks the slaying of demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna, who then rescued 16,000 captive princesses. The day and its rituals are interpreted as ways to liberate any souls from their suffering in Naraka, or Hell, as well as a reminder of spiritual auspiciousness. On this day people decorate their homes with lamp and create design (Rangoli).
Lakshmi Puja (Diwali)
This is the main day of the festival where families gather for Lakshmi Pooja or to pray to Goddess Lakshmi. This is the day that all Hindu, Sikh and Jain temples are lit up with hundreds of candles and oil lamps – giving the day its name the festival of lights. Fireworks will also be lit to mark the highest point of celebrations. Diwali is seen as the last day of the Hindu year in many Indian regions, when businesses close their old accounts. Traditionally, it is believed that on this day, Lord Rama rescued goddess Sita from the demon Ravana following an epic battle. On his return home, his followers lit up his path home so he could return in the dark.
This is the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gift and best wishes for the season. On this day temples piled high with food offerings to the Lord Krishna during the Govardhan Puja . A symbolic reference to Govardhan Hill it is believed that Lord Krishna lifted the hill to shelter villagers from a flood caused by the vengeful Indra, King of Heaven. The day’s activities are designed to remind Hindus to be humble in the face of the Lord and Divine. This day also ritually celebrates the bond between the wife and husband.
The last day of the festival is literally Brothers Day. It celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, similar to Raksha Bandhan festival. On this day brothers visit their sisters who welcome them with love and lavish meals. Traditionally, Bhai Dooj was seen as one of the few days when brothers could visit their married sisters’ homes, to ensure they were being well cared for.