Diwali – Guide to the Festival of Lights

There is a felicitous atmosphere in the air in the month of September to November. Festive season starts from then. Devipaksha launches into in Mahalaya Amavasya. Devipaksha signifies the end of Pitru Paksha and Matri Shakti is all around the air. From worshipping Goddess Durga this festival is began and accomplished with Diwali or Shyamapuja or Dipawali, termed as several names in different places.

Diwlai - Festival of Lights

Definition of Diwali:

Before starting about the definition, it is important to understand what is diwali festival actually? It is one of the most famous, colorful, sacred festivals among the Hindus is celebrated every autumn by exchanging gifts and sweets, lighting fireworks and prayers across the world. This luminous festival is so much famous that it is also celebrated among the Indian communities throughout the Diaspora. It is also called as “Deepavali” or “Dipavali”, which came from row (avali) or collection of clay lamps (deepa).

The festival is also colloquially known as the “Festival of Lights“. Few days before this festive occasion was celebrated in domestic houses, buildings, shops and temples by cleaning and painting with white-wash. Then people started to decorate their houses with pictures, toys, flowers and lights. Every year it comes in the month of mid October or November according to the Gregorian calendar. This one of the sacred festivals of India is celebrated on five days with true understanding and devotion.

History of Diwali:

In different regions of India this Indian festival is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm for different mythological reasons. In north India people celebrate it as a day when legend of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu and his wife Sita returned to their province Ayodhya after 14 years of exile by defeating the demon King Ravanna and lighting the cuty with diyas to celebrate his victory.

In the southern part of India people believe that Lord Krishna, a famous deity in Hindu religion killed the demon Narakasura, who jailed thousands of occupants on this day.

Diwali Diyas

Whereas in western India the festival of lights is enjoyed for different reasons as this is the day when Lord Vishnu (one of the gods of the Hindu trinity) in Vamana avtaar crushed the demon King Bali to rule the netherworld or the Patala loka(underground world) and rescued Lord Indra’s authority over the heavens. Beside these stories, some people also believe that the festival is nothing but the celebration of marriage between goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu.

This day is also celebrated by worshiping Mother Kali, the dark Goddess of strength and power throughout WestBengal, which is a state in India. It is also believed in some part of India that Lakshmi, the Goddess of happiness, wealth and prosperity enters the pure, bright and clean houses of devotees on this day and brings the good fortune by defeating the darkness. Nowadays businessmen all over the Indian subcontinents try to get the blessings of wealth Goddess Lakshmi by closing their accounting books and prayed for the successful new financial year. From all explanations, one common fact is, the festival is celebrated as a mark of victory of good over the evil.

Reasons of Festival of Lights Celebration:

There are so many reasons why we celebrate this festival of lights every year. It is not because of the festive mood in the air or not because of the good time to enjoy before the winter arrives. There are some mythological and historical reasons behind it which is not only applicable for Hindus but also for others to celebrate this great festival for several communities include Hindu, Jain and Sikh.

The Pandavas celebrated the day of Kartik Amavashya by lighting the earthen lamps after they return from their 12 years of exile to Hastinapura. In Ramayana, the famous epic of Hindu religion Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman returned home after 14 years of banishment by crushing the demon Ravana. As a result the city of Ayodhya was overwhelmed with joy and was decorated with earthen lamps to celebrate Lord Rama’s return.

Festival of Lights

On the day before Dipavali Lord Krishna killed the Demon King Narakasur and saved 16,000 women from his imprisonment. Thus the day of festival of lights is celebrated as the celebration of freedom. On the other hand, on this auspicious day the greatest King Vikramaditya was crowned and Lord Vishnu appeared in Vamana avtaar and rescued Goddess Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali.

The First Day of Diwali:

The first day of Dipavali is called as Dhanteras or Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanwantari Triodasi. It is actually the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Kartik. On this day the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi is worshiped. It is the day of celebrating wealth, as the name Dhanteras comes from two words, word “Dhan” means wealth and the other word “Tera” (Teras in Hindi) means the 13th day of the calendar. It is believed that on this day Lord Dhanwantari emerged from the ocean of milk with a pot of amrita in his hand. Some people in this auspicious day visits the jewelry shops to buy silver or gold ornaments and some people buys utensils, new clothes to honor the occasion of Dhanteras. In Gujarat the Hindu ritual is celebrated more than the ctual Deepawali day. Some people also worship Goddess Lakshmi , Lord Kuber and Lord Ganesha on this day.

The Second Day of Diwali:

The second day is called as Narak Chaturdasi or Kali Chaudas. It is also famous as Choti Diwali in some parts of India which is nothing but the day before the holy day. According to Hindu Mythology on this day Lord Krishna rescued the world from the fear of demon Narakasur by destroying him. To relieve from tiredness one can massage the body with oil on this day. On this Choti Diwali night Yama Diya should not be lit as it should be given on Triodasi night with prasad which is written in the Shastras (Laws of Dharma).

The Third Day of Diwali:

The third day is the actual Diwali Festival which is also known as Hindu New Year. In the evening, in every house lamps and candles are lighted and rangoli designs are drawn at the entrance of every house, buildings and shops. Not only that, Footprints of Goddess Lakshmi is also drawn at the entrance of every household to symbolize her arrival. Most of the people hold Ganesha and Lakshmi puja on this day. In the evening houses, shops, public places are well-illuminated with colorful lights. We can witness large numbers of fireworks light up the sky. In West Bengal the Goddess Kali is worshiped everywhere. After the puja all the people take part in the distribution of sweets and prasads.

Beautiful Lights - Diwali

The Fourth Day of Diwali:

On the fourth day after completion of thanks giving ceremony to the Goddess Kali, Govardhan Pooja is performed. It is believed that Lord Indra was tried to ruin the town of Gokul but Lord Krishna saved the people of Gokul from the outrage of Lord Indra by lifting the Govardhan Mountain. As a result Govardhan Mountain is honored through the ages. In the Western part of India especially in Gujarat this day is celebrated with great grandeur and show as Bestu Baras, the new year according to their calendar whereas, in some places of North India this day is also widely celebrated as Vishwakarma Day. People worship their machinery instruments on this day. This day is also famous as Annakut day.

The Fifth Day of Diwali:

The fifth day of festival of lights ends with Bhai Teeka or Bhai Dooj or Bhai Beej or Bhai Fota (In Bengali language). This is the special day for all the sisters across the country. Bhai Dooj is a day when strong bond of love between a brother and a sister can be seen. In Rig Veda, Yami is the twin sister of Lord Yama. It is stated that after long separation, Yama decided to visit her sister’s home and impressed by the hospitality of her sister. Yami welcomed her brother by putting a tilak on his forehead. Yamraj blessed her and declared that on this day if a brother greets his sister will have a long life. Bhai Teeka or Bhai Dooj or Bhai Beej or Bhai Fota is a special event when sisters pray for her brother’s long life, safety and success by putting tilak on his forehead.

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