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Diwali (also known as Deepavali), the festival of diyas is a prevalent festival of Hindus celebrated in India. The festival of lights is celebrated as a symbol of victory of rectitude over the darkness. Earthern diyas are lightened all around the house to welcome the divine goddess Laxmi. Diwali is the most traditional festival celebrated all over India. The festival is considered as a festival of joy and happiness. People clean their houses and decorate them before Diwali to welcome the goddess to their houses.
History of Deepavali
The vibrant festival has its own religious significance. The festival is celebrated when Lord Ram returned from Lanka with Sita and his younger brother Laxman to his kingdom Ayodhya.
On the day of Dussehra, Ram killed Ravan after a great battle in Lanka. Lord Ram attacked Lanka, killed Ravan and released Sita from his custody. The battle continued for ten days.
After that they returned to Ayodhya victorious and reached Ayodhya on the day of Diwali. When they returned to Ayodhya, there was no moon light. So people lit diyas on their way to welcome their king and honor his victory of justice and the destruction of Ravan.
When is Diwali
This year, Diwali is being celebrated on 17th October, 2009 which is a Saturday.
Five Days Celebration
The 12th day of Ashwin known as Vasu Baras. On this day people worship cow and calf as they are considered as a symbol of God.
Dhan Teras –
The celebration of five days starts from Dhanwantari Triodasi (Dhan Teras), considered as a wealthy day for purchasing of gold and silver. It is the 13th day of Ashwin. On this day, people worship the god Laxmi to bring all wealth to their houses. It is said that in Samudramanthan, Dhanvantari had appeared from ocean with the pot of amrit for the welfare of human. So this day is celebrated as Dhan Teras.
Naraka Chaturdasi –
The second day of Deepavali, called Naraka Chaturdasi also known as Kali Chaudas is celebrated as Choti Diwali. On this day Lord Krishna ruined the devil Narakasur and brought about the freedom from fear. The evening celebration of this day is full of lights and fireworks.
In the southern states of India, this festival is celebrated in a different way. People wake up before sunrise and make a paste of oil and kumkum as a symbol of blood, apply it on their forehead and later on take bath with sandalwood paste.
In Maharashtra, people bathe with oil and paste called Uptan made from haldi. They specially prepare and serve dishes made from vermicelli, milk and sugar.
The third day is the actual day of Diwali, the centre of celebration. This day is the last day of the financial year as per the traditions of Hindus. Businessmen execute Chopda Puja as a closing of their books of account.
People dress up in new clothes, decorate their home with rangoli, greet each other and enjoy sweets with their family. The entire house is decorated with lights and diyas. The day starts with Laxmi Puja and ends with the loud noises of crackers bursting. The dark day is the last day of the month of Ashwin.
Diwali puja is done with gold coin, kumkum, uncooked rice and footprint of Lord Laxmi. Laxmi and Ganesh puja are done for spiritual prosperity. Ganesh, the god of new beginning is also worshipped along with Laxmi to remove all obstacles.
In West Bengal, this day is celebrated with Kali Puja. The people worship goddess Kali with goddess Laxmi. Kali puja is done on the day of amavas, the day when moon light is absent. The houses are decorated with lights and rangoli. People pray for happiness and prosperity and seek protection by praying to goddess Kali, the mother of all goddesses.
New Year celebration –
The first day of Kartik as per Hindu calendar is called Padwa or Vishkarma day as it is the starting of Vikram-Samvat. New books of accounts are opened by businessmen. People wear new clothes & jewellery; visit their friends, relatives with their families and exchange gifts and sweets. They wish each other for a joyful New Year and seek to remove anger and jealousy from their lives. This day is considered auspicious for starting new endeavours.
Goverdhan Puja is done on this day, as Lord Krishna defeated Indra on this day and saved Gokul by lifting Goverdhan Mountain on his finger. He gave a message to protect nature.
Gudi-Padwa is celebrated as a symbol of love and devotion between wife and husband. Newly married daughters are also invited with their husband for partaking in meals.
Bhai Dooj –
On this day of Shukla Paksh Dwitiya, Lord Yamraj visited his sister Yamuna and gave her blessings that whenever on this day a brother visits his sister, he would blessed with immense health and wealth.
On this day, sisters put Tilak on her brother’s forehead, do Aarti and feed him sweets. Brothers in turn blesses her with gifts and showers his love.
Significance of Deepavali
It has become a tradition to celebrate this festival with a lot of joy and enthusiasm. Different communities attach different significance to this festival.
For Sikh community the day is popular as Guru Goving ji returned to Gwalior city after his imprisonment. People lit lights at golden temple to welcome him.
The Jain community also has a special significance of this day. They celebrate this day in remembrance of Lord Mahavir, the founder of Jainism as he took Nirvana on this day.
It is said that Lord Laxmi can not enter the house which is not lit, so every house is lit with lights and diyas on this festival. The lights also show a new path to people to bring good things to their lives.
The most joyful festival has its own significance of celebration. For kids it is a festival of holidays with gifts, sweets and crackers. Exchange of gifts and feasting are one of the main parts of this joyful festival celebration.
People also gamble on the day of Diwali. It is believed that Goddess Parvati played dice with Lord Shiva and so the tradition of playing cards continued; to bring wealth and good luck throughout the year.
For farmers it is a harvest festival as it falls on month of October-November. This season is considered as Kharif season. They pray to god and express their regards to give good crop to them.
The festival brings joy, wealth and prosperity in our lives. The crackers are the symbol of expression of curtsy in lives of people.
Diwali Gifts to India
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